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The Thinking Train

The Thinking Train

Stories to think about

A unique series of picture books which focus on the development of children’s thinking skills through the use of stories.

  • Thinking skills enhancement
  • Beautifully illustrated stories
  • On-page activities in graded English to practice language skills
  • Exam preparation for Cambridge A1 Starters and Movers and Trinity (1-3).
  • Fun games, audios and teacher's resources online

More About

The Thinking Train is an innovative series devised to enhance key thinking and language skills in young learners while developing a love of reading.

As they progress through school, children need to acquire far more than the factual knowledge generally prescribed by school curricula. They need to be able to think about the knowledge they acquire to critically question what they read and hear and to assess evidence carefully.

In the long term, they will need to be equipped to face the challenges of a changing and unpredictable world. To do this they will need a range of thinking skills to enable them to solve problems and make intelligent decisions. These skills will help children to face new and unpredictable problems and to find the best ways of tackling them.

In The Thinking Train series, students will often invent dialogues, act them out, mime actions and use drama and role play to practise new language. In a playful way, the stories will focus on the following thinking areas:

  • comparing and contrasting things
  • categorising and sorting
  • sequencing
  • spatial awareness
  • cause and effect and problem solving
  • decision making
  • predicting
  • creative thinking

With good reason, thinking is considered to be the fifth skill all language learners should practise.

Thinking about and discussing issues gives learners an authentic reason to use language, whether it is to solve a problem, to select something, or to sort things into categories. Children are also encouraged to think together where possible, creating a community of enquiry in the classroom.

Stories, in addition to being an excellent vehicle for promoting thinking and providing a real context for developing language, are a greatly motivating resource for any classroom.

Picture books, such as the Thinking Train stories, are particularly important as the illustrations provide real visual support to the language presented and help create a situation that the reader immediately feels part of. In today’s increasingly visual world, developing visual literacy through picture books is crucial.

The Thinking Train titles are also available as Big Books. Big Books make reading a fun experience while being a powerful tool for language learning. Maxi-format illustrations will captivate any class or group and enlarged text will allow children to see and follow words as they are pointed to and read by the teacher.

  • Size: 35x35 cm
  • Pages: 24 (story only)
  • Picture dictionary
  • Quick guide in book
  • Story available as MP3 download
  • Downloadable Guide to using Big Books

Go to the Young Learners category on our blog for all the latest theory, plus lesson plans and interviews with the authors and illustrators.

Accessible to all

We take great care to ensure our stories are as accessible as possible to a broad audience. Our choice of font helps children with reading difficulties, such as dyslexia, who often find certain typefaces challenging.

Using thicker paper and a text layout which includes an evenly spaced font, wider line-spacing and carefully calibrated line lengths, we can significantly reduce the visual stress experienced by many readers who suffer from reading difficulties.

Language & Exams

Level A

Cambridge A1 Starters
Trinity: 1

  • Alphabet
  • Colours
  • Countries
  • Faces
  • Greetings
  • Numbers 1-10
  • Pets
  • School things
  • Snacks
  • Toys
  • Wild animals (zoo and jungle)

Level B

Cambridge A1 Starters
Trinity: 1

  • Clothes
  • Farm animals
  • Festivals
  • Games
  • Houses and rooms
  • Numbers after 10
  • Parties
  • School subjects
  • Seasons
  • Weather

Level C

Cambridge A1 Starters
Trinity: 1

  • Ecology 1
  • Garden and nature
  • Helping at home
  • Jobs
  • Places
  • Pocket money
  • Sports
  • Town 1

Level D

Cambridge A1 Movers
Trinity: 2

  • Bodies
  • Directions
  • Emotions 1
  • Family
  • Health
  • Months
  • Town 2
  • Transport

Level E

Cambridge A1 Movers
Trinity: 2/3

  • Dreams
  • Ecology 2
  • Emotions 2
  • Fashion
  • Holidays
  • Music
  • TV

 

Helbling e-zone

Helbling e-zone is the Learning Management System (LMS) developed by Helbling. It consists of a user-friendly online platform for both teachers and students.

For students

    • Online games: play individual games or motivating classroom team challenges
    • MP3 audios to listen to the stories

    For teachers

      • Teacher’s Guide by Marion Williams: a practical free resource packed with information plus a selection of expansion activities and games
      • Free Online Worksheets providing language evaluation and consolidation as well as exam practice
      • Flashcards
      • Flashcards Guide
      • Big Books Guide

       

      Authors

      Herbert Puchta

      Dr. Herbert Puchta is a full time writer and teacher trainer. He has been a plenary speaker at numerous international conferences, and has conducted workshops and given seminars in more than 30 countries. For almost three decades, he has carried out research into the practical application of findings from cognitive psychology to the teaching of English as a foreign language.

      Read on

      Günter Gerngross

      Günter Gerngross was a much-loved teacher trainer and author of course books for Primary and Secondary Schools as well as resource books and graded readers.
      He was fascinated by the dynamics of teaching and learning, and focussed on the practical application of cognitive psychology to the real world of the EFL classroom.

      Read on

      Gavin Biggs

      Gavin Biggs has been working in education for approximately 20 years, teaching and managing educational projects with government, academic, vocational and corporate partners. Gavin has a degree in Psychology from the University of Exeter and his professional interests include the effective use of stories in learning, and motivational psychology in the classroom.

      Read on