Straits Times Press' first foray into assessment books has punched above its weight, with the two Mastering English With The Straits Times editions having sold around half of their 10,000-volume print run since their launch in February.
The workbooks, developed by the Straits Times Schools team, are available for upper-primary pupils and secondary school students.
They are based on the latest PSLE and O-level examination formats and conform with the Ministry of Education's English-language curricula.
The workbooks repackage Straits Times news articles and photos for use as comprehension passages or oral composition and written essay prompts - a method also used by ST Schools' award-winning Little Red Dot and IN educational supplements.
ST Schools teaching specialist Debra Ann Francisco, who was the project coordinator for the Mastering English series, said: "It was very natural, turning our archived material into exam papers."
The process began last October, she said, and was inspired by special issues of Little Red Dot and IN a few months prior, which focused exclusively on exam-style pages.
With Mastering English, the concept was expanded to book- length collections of "ready-to-go lesson pages", she said.
Ms Francisco, a former teacher with 14 years of experience teaching General Paper and English language and literature at the secondary and junior college levels, helms educational content at ST Schools.
The access to an extensive archive of Straits Times material is a prominent selling point, said ST Press book editor Eunice Quek.
"It not only helps students learn about the format, but also keeps them up to date on current affairs."
Retail chain Popular, which carries about half the stock sold so far, is set to feature Mastering English on the bestseller list of its quarterly POPClub publication, owing to what a spokesman described as "promising" sales. She added: "We feel that the reasonable price point and informative content have played an important role in the positive reception of the book."
Each edition of Mastering English costs $10.60 , inclusive of goods and services tax, and both are sold at all major bookstores islandwide.