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Any English Secondary Teachers Out There? Advice needed

(14 Posts)
Tetley Tue 12-Apr-05 13:31:30

I'm mentoring a 14 year old boy (year 10) at a local school. He has just done his mock exams & has failed his English language & literature very badly. Therefore my plan is (& he is in agreement with this) for him to try to read some fiction to help his language particularly.

Can anyone recomend any suitable books, that will stimulate him, without being too difficult or too long?

donnie Tue 12-Apr-05 14:23:23

try 'Of Mice and Men' by Steinbeck ( although this may be on his lit syllabus anyway - it's a popular choice).Also perhaps some Nick hornby ?

Tetley Tue 12-Apr-05 18:03:53

Thanks for your reply, Donnie. I'm still trying to find out what is on his syllabus anyway - he didn't know!

Nick Hornby sounds interesting.

roisin Tue 12-Apr-05 18:19:31

I'm not an English teacher - just crashing your thread. Is your primary aim to get him reading, or are you looking for "high quality literature" that you can analyse together?

If the former, I think it's important to find out what appeals to him.
Garth Nix (Sabriel etc), Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl) are very popular with teenagers.
I'm not sure what constitutes 'too long'. But both these authors have had 'samplers' done for World Book Day, and they might be a great start. (Nix: The creature in the case and Colfer: The Seventh dwarf).

If the latter, how about:
Lord of the Flies, or
Westall: The machine gunners

Marcus Sedgwick: The dark horse is a fabulous page-turner, with surprisingly complex characters and plot.

Yorkiegirl Tue 12-Apr-05 18:20:07

Message withdrawn

Tetley Tue 12-Apr-05 18:33:20

No problems with you crashing my thread Roisin! My aim is to get him reading & playing his computer games abit less - as even he admits that he spends far too much time on these! He hasn't really ever read any fiction so has no iea what he'd like to read - so I'm stabbing in the dark, to say the least. Thanks for your suggestions though - I'll look into them.

YG - yes, I agree - CarrieG sprang to mind too. Hopefully she might see this - or I might have to start up a special thread for her!

roisin Tue 12-Apr-05 18:36:55

Sounds like a challenge - good luck to you both

pixiefish Tue 12-Apr-05 18:38:40

Yes- I'm here

Stone Cold is a good one. The thing to do with him to improve his language is to read and test what he's read. I'd also go over past papers with him- analyse the reading extracts and discuss the questions. Make sure he knows the different formats in the writing section.

What texts is he studying for Lit? Perhaps he should forget his Lit and concentrate on improving the language mark. Has he got coursework?

I ask because every exam board is different.

It really depends what he likes- he won't read it if he doesn't enjoy it- stone cold would be a good starting point though as it's very quick to read

GRMUM Tue 12-Apr-05 18:59:12

My son is 15 and is difficult to find books for. He has recently enjoyed:

You don't know me David Klass
The lost Alex Shearer
Holes Louis Sacher

They are all aimed at teenage readers.I have to really search to find contemporary books that he will enjoy.

Tetley Tue 12-Apr-05 20:45:23

Thanks for all your suggestions. I shall look into them.

I'm not sure what he's doing for Lit - waiting to find out from the woman who runs the mentoring scheme (he couldn't tell me!). I just felt that language needed to be improved first, if he was to stand any chance with literature & also thought that reading was a good way to start this, as he currently doesn't do any. - His challenge for next time we meet up is to get himself a library card!

slug Wed 13-Apr-05 12:33:48

Try getting him writing fan letters to his favourite football stat. The standard response is to send a signed photo. I've found this to be a major motivator when it comes to literacy amongst young men.

slug Wed 13-Apr-05 12:34:07

Or football star even.

sassy Wed 13-Apr-05 17:49:22

Hi, i am a sec English teacher. I find that boys often dislike fiction but will really enjoy bigraphies/autobiogs of people they are interested in e.g. sports stars etc. As GCSE Eng lang paper is centered on non-fiction and media texts this is relevant and helpful for them.
As far as fiction goes:
Nick Hornby, Holes, Stone Cold etc good suggestions.
Also worth a try -
Face - benjamin Zephaniah
Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
The Hobbit - Tolkien
The James Bond books - Alexander Fleming
Animal Farm/Down & Out in Paris and London - George Orwell

Tetley Wed 13-Apr-05 18:38:15

Great! Thanks so much for all of these ideas.

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