CHESS Plus - A Successful Way to Learn English for Primary School Students
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CHESS Plus - A Successful Way to Learn English for Primary School Students

Ages: 7 - 12
Price: Varies
Type: Book, Software, Website
By Caramel Tree


CHESS+ (pronounced CHESS Plus) is an English as a foreign language (EFL) learning program for primary school students. The program has ten monthly units over five years from Grades 1 to 5. Our story-based approach to teaching and learning EFL consists of blended learning materials with print and digital contents that take the learning beyond the classroom and help to maximize exposure and continuity in the learning. Students complete exercises in a Course Book, which they can then practice online through PC and mobile devices, and they work through material to help them develop their reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills as well as creative thinking and practical communication skills.

The CHESS+ program is currently not available in the USA.

Review Highlights:

CHESS+ effectively helps primary school students learn English using a story-based approach. This is an excellent, comprehensive program for young ESL / EFL students to learn the English language in a meaningful context. Students learn phonics, vocabulary words, sentence structure, paragraph writing, and can achieve basic reading fluency using the course books and elearning platform. From a cognitive development standpoint, learning another languags is one of the best things you can do. It helps hone cognitive skills such observation and analysis. It improves memory, attention span, decision making, and makes you more aware of your own language in terms of the grammar rules, parts of speech, conjugation, and cultural and linguistic nuances. I highly recommend this program.

While the name of the program may initially have you thinking about pawns and rooks, CHESS+ actually stands for Children's Holistic English Study Success. Though the program is seemingly geared towards schools, depending on price, homeschooling families or multi-family homeschooling co-ops could potentially make good use of this literacy program. The program is story-based and combines both printed and digital materials. CHESS+ is designed to help students develop their reading, writing, communication, and listening skills throughout their elementary school years.

The program does a great job clearly mapping out the goals and benchmarks for each level in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. CHESS+ is also on point with assessment, using a variety of ways to check for understanding and progress.

CHESS+ is comprehensive, well-developed, and high-interest. I've found that many literacy programs offer bland resources - attempting to write stories and activities that center around a group of sounds/phonics skills rather than writing material that will hold attention and engage students. The storybooks offered in THIS program are focused and skill-driven with the added bonus of being interesting and visually appealing. Kids will enjoy the materials in the program - and as a former classroom teacher, I know how absolutely vital enjoyability is to learning.

Students will dig into vocabulary-based stories in Level 1, fairy tale adaptations in Level 2, folk tales in Level 3, adventure and personal growth stories in Level 4, and mysteries and classic story adaptations in Level 5. I love both the variety of materials AND the way each level/year hones in on a specific genre.

The program is holistic in nature - covering literacy in the broadest sense. This could potentially be an all-inclusive product for a school to implement. From the viewpoint of a classroom teacher, this system would be easy to implement, and require very little planning or preparation. I loved that it included everything from assessments to homework assignments. Additionally, while many literacy/reading programs only cover basic/foundational skills, I liked that CHESS Plus went beyond the early years - and took a child from first through fifth grade (or K-4 depending on when the program was started.)

I appreciated that the program was not entirely digital, as I long for all children to physically interact with printed books. The variety of reading materials was fantastic. I enjoyed that throughout the course of the program, that kids would be exposed to a variety of genres.

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