A few weeks ago I emailed Collins and asked if we could get a few of their GCSE books to review (I am wanting to build up a page of reviews on GCSE/IGCSE resources), while we were discussing GCSE books they asked if I would be interested in looking at their KS3 English workbook. Now I never used an English Collins workbook with my oldest but my son is just starting his Year 7 so I was interested to see if it was something we could use with him. And the fact that the workbook only costs £5.99 and comes with all the answers in the back made me think that other home educators might find it useful.
We received the KS3 English workbook and I have to admit I am impressed, in fact I really like their pages on structuring a longer responses and wish I had used it with my oldest.
First things first, this is a workbook, it is NOT a course book, think of it as practice questions. What I mean by that is this is not going to be the ONLY book you will use, these are targeted practice questions that you will use alongside other resources. But as a home educator who has already done KS3 with one kiddo I can tell you that English is a subject where you are going to use multiple books. It just is. And you are going to want to have practice questions, questions that you kids can try and answer because they just need practice on how to answer English questions.
This workbook is written for KS3, they have not made it year specific so you can dip in and out as you think it suits your kid. It is split into four main sections.
- Shakespeare (it covers A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest)
- Mixed Style Questions
Reading. This section is aimed at building the basic skills that your kids will need to prepare them for the reading questions they will face in GCSE (or IGCSE) English Language. So it is things like selecting key words, inference, how ideas are organised, language choices, explaining viewpoints and then structuring your longer responses. The reading section is 28 pages long. So yes it is not the only questions you will need to work through with your kiddo but they are good questions. I have been impressed with how this section has been structured and now that we have started working on my oldest IGCSE English language I can see why they have included these questions and how they do create some good stepping stones for later.
Writing. This section is 32 pages long and although this is a write-in workbook some of these longer writing questions will need to be written on another sheet of paper. This starts with some basics like paragraphs and grammar but then it goes onto how to plan and structure your answer. And then writing to persuade, writing to argue, writing to advise, writing to inform, writing to describe. I like that they have broken it down like this and I can already see that these pages are going to be useful.
Shakespeare. Okay this section is only going to be useful if you are planning on covering these plays. And I am not sure which plays we are doing yet but having said that it is a nice few pages of summary questions for the plays.
Then the Mixed Style Questions which is 16 pages of extra questions. You could use this as a way of assessing your kids to see how they have done or you could use it as just extra practice. Either way they are extra questions which give you more practice.
And at the very end of the book you get the answers.
Okay so my thoughts. For £5.99 it is a workbook which contains some really well structured practice questions and answers. It is not something you can use in isolation, it will be something that you will use with other resources. But I do like the way they have structured it, I like the questions, and I can see how they are using the questions to guide the kids towards the GCSE/IGCSE style questions that they will face later. For £5.99 I think it is a worthwhile addition and I will be using it with my son.
You can get your these workbooks at local bookstores (I have seen it in both WHSmith and Waterstones), they can get them directly from the Collins site and you can get them from Amazon – KS3 English Workbook
Admin – I did receive a few review copy of this book. This is NOT a paid for post, all opinions expressed are my own.
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