The reviews of the three workbooks printed below are taken from the Patoss Bulletin, winter 2018. Patoss is the ‘professional organisation of teachers of students with SpLD’ (specific learning difficulties). If you would like to buy one or more of the workbooks please visit our store.

Patoss Bulletin, Winter 2018
Review of Times Tables? It’s a Doddle
Author: Sarah Cowell
Price of book: £14.75
ISBN: 978-0-9926656-6-1

Reviewed by Sarah Bantick, Primary Teacher and specialist teacher

‘Times Tables it’s a Doddle’ is an A4 sized workbook, presented in an approachable format so which gently guides the learner through each of the tasks, using pictures as aids. It is clearly set out in numerical order so the learner can work systematically through each of the times tables.

The book begins with working through the basics, for example, tasks based on odd and even numbers to help the learner to understand these first…

Some of the tasks also relate to other areas of maths such as shapes. For example after tasks on the four times tables, the book asks the learner to name a four sided shape that has one 90 degree angle in each corner. The book also contains activities on square roots and number factors and can be used to link mathematical facts together…

A dyslexic learner would find this book easy to use as it is clearly laid out and easy to follow…

The book allows the learner to work through it at their own pace which gives the learner control over the speed of their learning – this allows for independent learning…

The book includes activities outside of sequence to develop automacity of times table knowledge…

Word problems are also included on some pages to encourage the practice of answering these types of questions in time for exams.

Personally, I feel this book is a great resource for specialist teachers, teachers, and learners alike. From a specialist teacher’s point of view this is a good resource to use as it provides visual aids, and a clear layout with a variety of activities…’

Patoss Bulletin, Winter 2018
Review of both: Zebras Spell Really Well & Spelling Words with Double Vowels? It’s a Breeze
Price: £19. 50 each, including postage & packing
Author: Sarah Cowell
ISBNs: 978099265609 & 9780992665678
Reviewed by Sarah Bantick, Primary School teacher and specialist tutor

Both books: Zebras Spell Really Well and Spelling Words with Double Vowels, It’s a Breeze, are updated and extended versions of previously successful publications. Both books, suitable for primary and lower secondary age learners, are a combination of work book and inspirational teaching ideas. The books work through a variety of spelling rules and give examples to aid understanding: the text is divided into instructional text with teaching points followed by dyslexic-friendly pages for the learner. They are full of lots of activities: one to two on every page, which can be photocopied and used in a classroom setting as well as in the home. There are also pages that can be completed to reinforce the spelling and phonic rules. Each new page or couple of new pages cover a new spelling rule. There are pictorial aids as well to help students to visualise the rules.

A contents page at the beginning of each book is helpful because it clearly sets out which rules can be found in each book. Both books are printed on light cream pages with bold, black ink. This can be useful for dyslexic learners because it reduces the contrast which can make texts easier for them to read. The activities included in the books cover a wide age range, with some more appropriate for older learners than others. For younger learners, there are flash cards that can be cut out and laminated o make them more durable for constant use.

The layout of each book is easy to follow and the resources provided in each one are clear and adaptable for a variety of phonic and spelling games. The colour of the pages, clear explanations and examples as well as many pictures that can be used as visual aids means that the books are dyslexia friendly and this should allow for independent use. Answers for all of the activities can be found towards the end of each book.

Personally, I think the books will prove to be a valuable resources for classroom teachers, teaching assistants, school SENCOs and specialist tutors. A wide range and wealth of activities that are supported by pictures, and plenty of photocopiable pages, means that they can be easily be used to support learning and encourage independence.