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Monday, January 11, 2016

How To Select Workbooks For Your Child

This post is for parents in primary school who are buying workbooks for their children for the first few times. Buying workbooks for your child for the first few times can be overwhelming with so many to choose from. Where do you start? What is a good workbook to buy?

Here is a simple guide on how to choose workbooks for your child.

Some parents in our Facebook group - The Malaysia Primary And Secondary School Parents on Facebook have raised this question a few times.

"Can you recommend a good workbook for my child? There are so many to choose from? Which one do I choose?"

Yes, there are so many to choose from. So many types of workbooks for so many subjects and from different publishers. One subject alone will have so many workbooks and reference books.

First, let's decide on the objectives why you wish to buy workbooks. Do you want your child to have extra practice or do you want your child to learn something new. If your objective is extra practice, do not get something totally different or new. It may confuse your child.

12 Things To Consider When Shopping For Workbooks

  1. Buy from established publishers. For SJKC, some of the established ones include Cemerlang, Hup Lick, Malaya Press, PEP , EPH (the publishing arm for Popular bookstore). For SK, the established ones include Oxford Fajar, Longman, Sasbadi, Pelangi to name a few
  2. For extra practice, buy something that mirrors the text book, not something new
  3. Do not buy books that are too high level. It will frustrate them. Flip through the book or bring  your child along to choose relevant ones if you are not sure.
  4. Check the date of publication and get the latest to make sure you get the most updated syllabus version. Just because the cover of the book says it is the latest with KSSR, HOTS, KBAT, etc on it does not make it so. Flip and look inside the book to make sure. Check the dates to make sure.
  5. When shopping for language workbooks, you may need to get grammar/tatabahasa books as well as practice workbooks that mirror the textbooks.
  6. When shopping for books with two papers in examinations, you may need one for paper 1 practice and one for Paper 2 practice
  7. Don't forget reference books. They are a very useful resource for students
  8. Closer to test or exam dates, you may want to get workbooks of sample test papers. Don't get this at the beginning of the year. Since your child has not gone through the year's syllabus yet, they will be frustrated when they cannot do the papers. 
  9. Check the answers. All workbooks should come with supplied answer sheets. You can find these either in the middle of the book or at the end. Flip straight to the section to check. The more comprehensive the answers, the better! For example in multiple choice questions, some workbooks give you the meaning of the other choices or the reason why the other choices are not the right ones. Some just give alphabetical answers without explanations.
  10. For math and science,  you may like to get books that give good and concise walk throughs or sample workings either in the model answers or at the beginning of the chapter. Some workbooks give an explanation before the questions. These are good for reference.
  11. Check your child's school book list before buying so you don't buy the same workbook that the school is using.
  12. Involve your child in the shopping whenever possible. They may be able to pick more relevant workbooks than you especially if they are in a language you do now understand.

Tips For Finding A Workbook That Closely Mirrors Your Child's School Textbooks

First flip through your child's textbook and take a picture of the chapters in the book. When you are at the bookshop, look for workbooks that say "Latihan Topikal" or something to that effect. Flip through the book to make sure the topics actually mirror the textbooks as claimed.

You may also find this useful. Abbreviations You Should Know Including KSSR, HOTS and more.

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