Archive for the ‘Study Books’ Category


Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Dictionaries classify the study of genre in different ways but, basically, according to Daniel Chandler, genres ‘create order to simplify the mass of available information’. I think he’s probably nailed it because this definition is no less true if you apply it to the genre of Fiction or to the genre of Study books. In fact, it puts the classifications of different kinds of books into an understandable perspective. There are, nevertheless, finer points to the taxonomy of literature – books that cross many divides but don’t really fit appropriately into any one category. Evidence of this can be seen in Amy J. Devitt’s definition which focuses on rhetoric that ‘allows for choices’ – perhaps this is the best definition of all, especially for study books which cover such a range of studying: anything from pre-school early learning to undergraduate and postgraduate studies and everything in between.

Early Learning
There are many concepts as to how young children develop their language skills, such as eliciting meaning from the world around them. Halliday attempts to explain these language skills through systemic-functional linguistics whereby learning principles are generalised principles that are applied to obtaining knowledge within all contexts, not just within the one of language. In other words, language is a cognitive function and, the way a child learns to apply that language is a good indication of that child’s overall cognitive development outside the realms of language development.

There has been an unending supply of research papers relating to how children learn to read and about the teaching of reading – led, most recently, by the National Reading Panel who were acting on a request from the United States Congress to investigate the appropriate way to teach reading. During the course of this research, the National Reading Panel [a sub-group of the NRP] looked closely at 38 studies about the efficacy of phonics when teaching reading: each of these studies followed rigorous research criteria.

To cut a long story short, the National Reading Panel acknowledged that phonics appeared to be essential to an effective start in teaching a child to read. For phonics to be effective, however, it needed to follow a systematic approach – a sequence that began in either kindergarten or first grade. The National Reading Panel concluded that phonics instruction enhanced a child’s spelling and reading, their comprehension skills and their word recognition. The studies also indicated that teaching the phonics method of reading was effective across all socio-economic groups without exception and was of particular use to children who were having specific difficulties with learning to read.

At Snazal, we have taken that research to heart and, in our section on Study books you will find an excellent selection on books relating to phonics – such as that written by Susan M Lloyd: ‘Jolly Phonics Workbooks: Books 1 – 7’. These books introduce all the sounds that are likely to be used in English, besides the alphabet, and use them to develop a child’s use of language and help them to build upon it. Susan M Lloyd presents this learning material in a fun way that encourages a child to want to learn more. It is an excellent study book for the pre-school to first grade age range.

The schools’ sector covers a huge variety of material aimed at the whole gamut of school-age ranges. Due to such a large developmental range the study books within the schools’ section is quite varied and the best way to find what you want [apart from flicking through] would be to use our search facility. Recommending one book over any other, within such a huge category, would be an almost impossible task. However, there is one book that does stand out amongst the others. This book is written by John Steinbeck, entitled ‘Of Mice and Men’ which is aimed at the GCSE level English student – the sophomore year in High School. There is also a text guide to it written by Richard Parsons. The story is set in California and relates to a couple of drifters looking for work – the rest you will have to read yourself: I wouldn’t want to spoil the book for you! 

A/AS Level & International Equivalent Qualifications
Study books at this level are quite varied, with most relating to the specific subject being studied. This is as true of the ‘AS Level Sociology: the Complete Course for the AQA Specification’ by Rob Webb as it is of ‘The Official Guide for GMAT(R) Verbal Review’ written by the Graduate Management Admission Council. When study books are written for undergraduate and postgraduate use they also vary according to subject matter, with the diversity as great as ‘Ross and Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness’ by Anne Waugh, BSc (Hons) MSc CertEd SRN RNT ILTM and the ‘Greatest Show on Earth: Evidence for Evolution’ by Richard Dawkins.

There is even more variation when it comes to study books for FE and College material as study books covers a lot of vocational courses as well. Study books could include ‘Plumbing NVQ & Technical Certificate Level 2 Student Book’ by JTL; ‘Food for Free’ by Richard Mabey or Graham Lawler’s ‘Understanding Maths: Basic Mathematics Explained’. While each book is so widely different, it’s comforting to know that there is still such a range of books printed to cover all and every subject area. Ann Gravells writes books that, on our website, have found their way into the Professional section of the Study books genre.

One of these books could just as easily be categorised within the Teachers’  Resource section as well: it is called ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. Meanwhile, a book that is featured in our Teachers’ Resource section is ‘How Children Learn: from Montessori to Vygotsky – Educational Theories and Approaches Made Easy’ written by Linda Pound. Another study book within the Teachers’ Resource section is entitled ‘Professional Studies: Primary and Early Years (Achieving QTS)’ by Kate Jacques. As you can see from the above, on our website you will truly find something for everybody and, if you can’t find it in one category, move on to another one – you are bound to find a book to suit even the most assorted and jaded tastes in one or other of our book categories.