My initial impression is that Learning Spiral: A New Way to Teach and Study Chess by Kevin Cripe is a great book for teaching chess to students from early elementary school on up to adults. The book has a preface from an expert on learning theory and an introduction that explains the rationale behind the sequence of 436 numbered diagram positions for teaching or learning chess moves, tactics and strategy. There’s also a chapter featuring 10 exemplar games, each followed by 6 diagrams; 5 from the game for the learner to put in sequence and 1 distracter that doesn’t belong.
I believe the chapter would scan better if it were reformatted to hold the game score and all 6 positions on a single spread of facing pages. I don’t like having to turn the page to see the last two or three positions. The best comparable books I can think of are Jeff Coakley’s “Winning Chess (Strategies; Exercises; Puzzles) for Kids”, and Todd Bardwick’s “Chess Strategy Workbook” and “Teaching Chess in the 21st Century”–all excellent books for teaching/learning chess, and not just for kids.
I hope that teachers are given rights to copy the diagram pages for students. I need to inquire from the author or publisher.
I think the author makes a good case for his method of organization for the exercises. I feel it’s probably an excellent reference and teaching book for scholastic chess coaches from elementary through high school levels. A motivated student between 4th grade and adult could probably work through it autonomously, though I’d recommend having a stronger player / coach available to check and advise.
Forward by Dr. John Hattie, The University of Melbourne – ( This is what grabbed my attention when I first saw pre-release announcements for the book on Amazon. My background is as a 7-12 math & science teacher and scholastic chess club coach.)
Note to Students, Teachers, and Parents
Watching Students Learn
Chapter 1: The Pieces and How They Move
Chapter 2: Checkmate or Stalemate
Chapter 3: Pins and Skewers
Chapter 4: Knight Moves and Back-rank Problems
Chapter 5: Deflections and Promotions
Chapter 6: Games to Learn From
Chapter 7: Endgame Tactics and Smashing the Kingside
Chapter 8: Evaluation, Basic Endgames, and Stems
Chapter 9: The Active King
Chapter 10: Some Ideas from Grandmaster Games
Chapter 11: Practice Thinking