FARINHA, Manuela C (2009) New Zappy 3 Student's Book, inglês 1º Ciclo, Porto Editora, Porto, 66 pp with Storybookk Zappy Festivals
It seems very difficult to teach English as foreign language at school, and especially if you are obliged to do it in a funny way, with no grammar, dictionaries or any other auxiliary books. Nevertheless, here we have a very successful attempt to do it. In this book with simple and beautiful illustrations with a very practical vocabulary (such as quastions about proper behaviour in the classroom, words about family, house, clthes, parts of the body, food) the children are invited to play with the language they have already learned. (using games such as word searches, crosswords, matching and colouring games, , songs, correct and wrong answers). All these exercises, comined with a cd, images that the children have to cut or stick, make the process of learning English more creative and closer to their dynamic of discovering the world. All the games and activities are designed to improve their knowledge of the language itself and they have a very pedagogical purpose, making the children think and create relations between a word and the object. Amongst the strong points of this book, I should point out the class projects, that envolve team work, more research about the countries that belong to the United Kingdom, and the pages dedicated to some curiosities related to the Anglophone world (the oldest zoo in Europe, the English royal faily etc.) Learning of a language is not just memorising of words and phrases, it is a strong identification with a culture, and it must be fomented very early in order to shaw to the children that a language is allso a form of thinking, living and expressing our feelings and concern about ourselves and the Others that surround us.
The Storybook that accompanies the book that should be used in the clasroom contains drawings and shapes that must be coloured (for Christmass, Easter, Carnival etc.) and there is no story or verbal explanation about any of the customs, traditions or festivals mentioned , and it could be one of the most serious "mistakes" in this manual. A fantastic idea in this manual is the existence of a "certificate" in the end, which confirms the rresults and the level achieved. This certificate serves to motivate the pupils to study even more and harder, not only to pass a test or to have good marks, but for the own pleasure and for the sake of the intellectual development.
However, it is recomended to use books and manuals in the classroom, because the process of learning must not be just a funny time spent at school and it must be presented as a hard and serious procedure that developes the children's tallents and closeness to studing and learning.