The latest book in the Hope Street series is an introduction to the series for ‘beginner beginner’ learners – those who are just able to read single sentences on very familiar topics (as in Module B of the CPSWE).

Target learners: CPSWE or ‘prelim’

Welcome to Hope Street is aimed at learners towards the end of the ‘prelim’ journey, or learners who have some word recognition skills – and to be honest, the stories are not quite ‘stories’ – they are little sentence sequences. It’s not a phonics reader – the words are more the familiar sight words, but there are notes in the Teacher’s Guide on how to relate the sentences to learners’ knowledge of sound-symbol patterns.

What it looks like, what it sounds like

If you download the sample pages of the book, you’ll see the level of text and be able to hear the three levels of audio. First the stories are read by the characters – then they are read slowly by the teacher – then there’s a ‘ding’ sound and learners are expected to read alone, before they hear the answer. Of course, that’s more for learners doing this as homework – in class it’s up to the teacher…

If you use the photocopiable Teacher’s Guide, you’ll see that the layout is a little different from the other books; the story pages are designed to be copied back to back and folded, to make a little ‘booklet’. This is to give practice in knowing which way to turn the pages.

Cut-ups for ‘at home’ practice

My favourite pages in the book are the ‘cut-ups’, where learners have to match each sentence to two pictures (and yes, these are going to be most suitable for learners at the end of the prelim journey, who are familiar with the concept of illustration, rather than photos). I love ‘cut-ups’ because they give learners something to take home and practise, with the potential to check their own answers. (If these pages are copied onto A3, the pieces are large enough to manipulate too.)

So I hope this meets a need – and if you have any ideas on books for the early stages of CPSWE, I’d love to hear them… though I suspect that photo-books are the best, and that apps are going to provide the best option…