Two Years ago I wrote a post about the comprehension books that we had used for year 2 (and into the start of year 3). So I thought it was time to give an update and share which Key Stage 2 comprehension books we are using (Key stage 2 covers school years 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the UK).
We have stayed with the Schofield & Sims range for comprehension. Their Key Stage 2 Comprehension books consists of 4 different workbooks – in theory one workbook for each year of Key Stage 2. So Book 1 for Year 3, Book 2 for Year 4, Book 3 for Year 5 and Book 4 for Year 6 (but we have not really stuck to that).
One of the reasons why I like these books is their choice of topics for the comprehensions. The texts are varied and interesting – they combine fiction with non-fiction, extracts of famous stories, poems, newspaper articles and factual material, like items from the National Archives. Below are a few examples of the different texts that they have included in their Book 2.
I also like these books because they contain lots of practice and there is no sharp increase in difficulty between the exercises. So if there is one exercise that the kids want to miss out, it’s okay, it really is not going to impact the flow of work. In fact when my daughter was working through Book 2 she actually jumped around a bit between the different comprehension based on what we were doing in other learning areas. And some of the comprehensions lead to further reading about the topic.
Each comprehension is spread over a double page – one page for the text and one page for the questions. Normally around 8 questions per text. We have not yet tried the exercises in Book 4 but after looking through I do think they are slightly harder but I don’t think it is a big leap, especially if the kids have been practising the slightly easier ones in the previous books. (Photos below show the difference between Questions in Book 1 and Book 4)
Some of the comprehension did require the kids to look up a few words in the dictionary – something which I really liked as I think using a dictionary is a good skill (yes yes I know – the internet and all that – but there is something about looking a word up, the kids often end up noticing other words and end up learning more than just the one word that they had to look up – but this is probably a whole other blog post). The Dictionary that we used is this one.
I must admit that when I first bought Book 1 and Book 2 for my daughter I did not buy the teacher’s guide and I feel like together my daughter and I managed to answer the questions successfully. When Schofield & Sims and sent me the whole set for review purposes they included the teacher’s guide and I admit, I have actually used it to double-check that a few of our answers were on the correct path. So if you are not that confident in helping your kids with the comprehension it might be useful to get the teacher’s guide. For each exercise the teacher’s guide includes a short introduction, the answers to the questions and suggestions on how you can expand the topic.
You can also purchase the books from local bookstores or from Amazon (I tend to buy mine directly from Amazon as I often get them for slightly cheaper and then I just buy them as we need them).
As I mentioned above we used the Key Stage 1 comprehension books (which I bought) and I then bought Book 1 and Book 2 of the Key Stage 2 set. Schofield & Sims heard we were using these books and then offered to send us the complete pack together with a dictionary for me to use in a review. These books are OUR choice of comprehension workbooks.
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