Category Archives: Brilliant Publications

How to create a whole-school Grammar and Punctuation Programme

What is the most effective way of creating a whole-school Grammar and Punctuation programme?

Schools that adopt a whole-school Grammar and Punctuation Programme typically find it easier to respond to the demands of the English Programmes of Study. For not only does it make it easier to have a unified approach to tracking pupils’ progress, but it also ensures that everyone knows what has gone before and what comes next.

However, what can be challenging when creating a whole-school Grammar and Punctuation Programme is knowing which resources will be most suitable. For the resources need to, for example:

  • meet the requirements of the English Programmes of Study
  • be consistent throughout the programme
  • exercise differentiation
  • be age-appropriate and highly engaging for all primary age groups
  • provide systematic progression throughout the school.

Which is why Brilliant Publications has produced the Brilliant Activities for Grammar and Punctuation Series.

The Grammar and Punctuation series has been designed especially for schools that are looking to enhance literacy skills throughout the school and thus meets all of the requirements listed above (and more).

The six book series teaches basic grammatical and punctuation concepts in a fun and memorable way, which will challenge and stimulate the whole school.

The sheets are designed for the practise, reinforcement and consolidation of grammar and punctuation skills, and they address the requirements laid out in the Programmes of Study in the September 2014 National Curriculum.

Pupils are motivated to think logically about the activities and to share their knowledge and understanding with their peers through working individually, in pairs, groups or, sometimes, in whole class contexts.

Furthermore, the books all include an assessment checklist and answers to help you with tracking pupils’ progress.

You can find out more on our website where there are also sample pages to download and try with your pupils.

This is one of the characters which features through the books

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

A dramatic approach to teaching French

Make a drama out of teaching French in the primary classroom.

It is imperative that a diverse range of teaching and learning methods are used in the primary classroom, not least because one child will have a very different preferred learning style to the next. Yet there are very few French teaching resources that respond to the needs of kinaesthetic learners, which is why we have produced Fun French Fairy Tale Plays.

These 10 specially written plays are adaptations of well-known stories; however each story is given a special twist to add humour. For example, Rapunzel lives at the top of the Eiffel Tower and Snow White loves to play sports, especially golf!

The plays provide an ideal way of motivating children aged 7–13 to learn French. Indeed, pupils will enjoy the challenge of learning a French script and will subsequently gain confidence through performing it to an audience of adults and/or their fellow pupils.

The plays use simple repetitive language and are easily adaptable. Each play has a specific language focus, making it easy to link the plays to topics that the pupils are studying.

The book contains reproducible scripts, English translations and suggestions for performing the plays, and the CD-Rom contains audio files of native French speakers performing the plays, as well as a pdf version of the book.

For more information about Fun French Fairy Tale Plays, visit:

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Children's fiction, French, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school

Learning French with Berthe stories

How can you ensure that your pupils are as confident with their written understanding as they are with their verbal understanding of French?

It is highly important that French children read regularly if they are to learn written French, not least because the way that French is spoken is very different to the way in which it is written – one example of this is how with spoken French, the last letter of many words is rarely sounded.

It is therefore also highly important that English speaking children who are learning French read French books regularly, too, which is why Brilliant Publications has the full range of the Berthe the Witch books available. The most recent Berthe the Witch book is La Famille de Berthe.

In La Famille de Berthe we are introduced to Berthe the Witch’s unusual family. Meet the three-eyed fish and the magician whose rabbits are out of control. Will we get to meet the grandchild who tells the Berthe stories?

The simple language means that the book can be read to, by and with children of all ages to increase their vocabulary and confidence. The storybook is fully illustrated with large colour pictures and includes a vocabulary wordlist, word search and a game giving scope for more advanced language.

This book is the 12th in the Berthe series. Do you have them all? There is even one about Christmas!

You will find more information about La Famille de Berthe on our website as well as all the other Berthe books.
La Famille de Berthe cover

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Children's fiction, French, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Nursery and Preschool, Primary school

The emotions of special needs

What is the best way of overcoming the negative emotions that some students experience on opening a novel?

Quite clearly what was once the main form of prolonged entertainment for literate people is now, as often as not, seen as unapproachable, old-fashioned, dull, and irrelevant.

And yet, in recent years a new method of engaging teenagers with the classic novel has been devised and used with much success.

The only reason it has not come to be the mainstream introduction to classic literature for GCSE students is because this approach started out as a method of engaging certain SEN students – such as those with dyslexia.

Yet for many mainstream students, brought up as they are in a home in which people mainly read from a screen, reading a complete book can be an alien concept.  What should be an enjoyable and engaging activity – the reading of a novel – can be lost even before the end of the first few pages. 

And once lost it may never be regained.

The solution to this problem has come with the Graphic GCSE Revision Guides.  These help the students understand the plot and become engaged with the characters in the novel, from the off, by telling the story in graphic comic form.

Five books are available in this form, and each is described (along with a range of sample material) on our website.  The books are Jekyll and HydePride and PrejudiceA Christmas CarolJane Eyre and Great Expectations.

A Christmas Carol: GCSE Revision Guide cover image

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Secondary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

Familiarity helps progress

For many children, the key to learning maths is being able to see how the familiar links with the new.

Take any random group of primary school pupils and the range of maths understanding within the group will be significant. 

Even if the groups are selected by maths ability the issues that some will grasp and others struggle with will still be varied.  Some will need support and help with one topic, others need extra exercises on a different topic.

Which is why having a complete series of books on Maths Problem Solving, all of which are photocopiable, and where the same topics recur but are presented in increasing depth and complexity, is such a benefit. 

For this allows the pupils to be supported immediately in the area where they are making slower progress.  And that in turn allows the children to join up the new learning with that which was learned before.

As a result, with differentiated worksheets all pupils will move towards mathematical fluency by building on past knowledge, without anyone holding up the progress of others or themselves being held up by the lack of understanding of some around them.

What’s more, to ensure that the learning is totally embedded, the problems that are set for each child within each category use a range of functions so that each issue is fully understood before the child can progress.

To aid this process, throughout the Maths Problem Solving series the books are divided into sections containing work on making decisions, reasoning about numbers or shapes, problems involving real life, money or measures and finally organizing and using data.

In each case the length of the problems are varied with short, medium and more extended problems presented for children to solve.

For more information on and sample pages to try from the Maths Problem Solving series, go to our website.

Maths Problem Solving series cover images

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, homework, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics, National Curriculum, Primary school, Teaching Ideas