The Princess and The Pickle recently received a selection of learning resource books from Collins to review. Collins has been publishing educational books for almost 200 years and is very well known and respected. I remember using their Letts revision guides to get me through my maths GCSE (and I came out with a B which I was pretty pleased about!) so I was intrigued to see how the books had evolved over the last 15 years.
The Pickle, just turned 4, was sent the Starting School range aimed at 3-5 year olds. The level was appropriate for him and with a little help reading and understanding the instructions, he sailed through the first book and very much enjoyed it too!
The diagrams were fun and colourful. Counting dots on a dice is boring, but counting dinosaurs is not dull at all!
I love how he followed the instructions so carefully. When asked to "trace over the lines to draw the picture", he grabbed his ruler and went over the border of the picture first!
There were certain things he didn't need to hear instructions for, such as choosing the correct colours to finish off the pictures.
Book 1 was a definite success and we look forward to starting book 2 next week.
The Princess, just turned 9, also received two books from the Easy Learning range. She has been busy practising Maths and English aimed at ages 8-10.
She has found them relatively easy so far, going over work she has done at school, but this is good as it reiterates what she has already learnt.
The Maths book starts with very simple number patterns and moves on to more complex problems, such as fractions and angles. This book would be great for less confident 9 year olds, but I think The Princess would benefit more from the 9-11 years book as it would be a bit more of a challenge for her!
The English book was slightly more challenging as it's not a subject The Princess enjoys so much. However, the style of the book makes it seem more like games than work and there are even a few intelligent jokes thrown in for good measure!
The English book has some very useful tips, such as how to proofread your work. This is something I'm always telling The Princess to make sure she does before handing anything in.
The Pickle is still working on English, but The Princess enjoys learning other languages and has learnt a little French and Spanish at school. The First Time Dictionaries are a very useful tool and allow you to look up the word in English and see the translation and visa versa.
The Very First Spanish Words book has simple words and phrases, accompanied by pictures, whereas the dictionaries have a little more depth and show how the word can be used within a sentence.
While aimed at 7-11 year olds, I imagine these dictionaries will last through to secondary school too.
The Collins First Dictionary, for ages 4+, will be perfect for when The Pickle starts school next September and is learning to read and spell words. The Primary Dictionary and Thesaurus are ideal for helping with The Princess' literacy homework and expanding her written vocabulary.
The First Dictionary uses pictures to assist in explaining the meaning of a word.
Finally, we received a Junior Atlas and Children's Picture Atlas.
The Children's Picture Atlas is brightly coloured and describes places of interest and which animals come from each continent. It also has a few activities at the back to reinforce what the children have learnt about the different countries.
The Junior Atlas is a little more 'grown up' and shows grid references. It also has descriptions and photos from each continent. It shows where all the UK national parks are, which is something The Princess is leaning about at school at the moment, so the atlas is proving very useful already, as I'm sure it will continue to be for many more years!