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what to do to support an able child in literacy?

(13 Posts)
chickensaladagain Mon 01-Apr-13 19:29:19

dd1 is a maths geek -loads of websites, books etc to support and extend, not a problem

dd2 has a flair for literacy
boast alert
she's yr 4 and a level 5a for reading & 5b for writing

she will write stories that go on for pages for fun -should I be 'marking' these for her?
she reads for hours
she is very secure in her spelling -school spelling champion lol

what else can I be doing for her?
she is doing extension work and was with the yr 6 class but that has stopped now as they are focusing on SATS
should I be looking at grammar with her?

learnandsay Mon 01-Apr-13 20:01:03

Yes you should. It all helps.

Teachercreature Mon 01-Apr-13 20:08:22

I've been Gifted & Talented co-ordinator at a previous school and my own DD is also on the G&T list for writing, so I have a particular interest in this kind of thing!

First of all the fact that she is already reading and writing for pleasure is perfect in terms of practice. Then as far as possible, with anything you do, focus on it being enjoyable.

Re marking - I'd ask her if she'd like you to. Some children will be happy with this, others not so much! (My DD wouldn't mind, but I wrote stories as a kid myself and would have hated them being marked.) If she says yes, then you could set little targets for improvement.

Or you could suggest she does it herself - mark with a different colour pencil and identify her own strengths and targets. But make sure she is happy with it - if it's "fun" to her then I'd be tempted to leave her to it rather than risk putting her off. If her levels are that high, then what she most needs is to continue practising and loving literacy, since effectively she is already challenging herself.

Other than that, I'd mainly suggest ensuring she reads a wide range of different genres including non fiction and poetry and classics, then discuss with her, esp inferential type qs. She could also have a go at different types of writing/presentation - so she could have a given topic and find out about it (of her choosing). Or write some poems in a certain style. Maybe see if you can get her interested in any particular authors - she could write book reviews or a letter to the author saying why she likes them. You could also do fun word puzzles - there are loads of books available - ones which widen her vocabulary would be particularly good.

The trouble with grammar exercises is you may end up covering stuff she will then do anyway in Y5 and 6, so if you do decide to go that route, check you're not doubling up. She'll probably pick most of it up from her reading anyway, that was how I learned!

Oh you could also try enriching her knowledge in other areas via reading - so for example, parts of History which interest her, or Science?

Hope that helps!

chickensaladagain Mon 01-Apr-13 20:15:54

She's quite interested in plays at the moment, has written a couple but it's not really something I see for her to be able to read at home other than Shakespeare and I don't want to put her off lol

Teachercreature Mon 01-Apr-13 21:00:10

How about getting her to convert her own favourite stories into playscripts? She could even get some friends involved and put on a performance for the parents? (Be warned though, I did this myself as a child - I'm a story fanatic - and I had terrible trouble co-ordinating the friends, heh heh!! Gave the adults a great laugh though!!) Or even pretend she is writing for a movie and let her video record it?

Here are some which might inspire her:

Also poetry is excellent for challenging the more able - especially ones where you have to work out what it's all about. The harder qs are always about inferential skills, opinion and choice of vocabulary so great practice!

Oh another idea is suggest little ideas to her again based on what she is loving reading. Like I once got a Y5 class to read sections of Lord of the Rings (abridged!) and then they wrote a magazine article pretending to interview Gollum! Basically if you can capture the imagination you're halfway there! smile

numbum Mon 01-Apr-13 23:01:18

My DD has the children box set of Shakespeare stories and has started converting them to playscripts! Is that something your DD would be interested in?

lljkk Tue 02-Apr-13 11:25:22

Going against the grain... my thinking is continue to support what she's already good at, but encourage her to prove & challenge herself at quite different things, too. Like math, science, art, whatever. She doubtless has the confidence, drive & intellect to do at least moderately well at those other topics and she may well eventually relish how they are much more challenging than literacy which comes so easily to her, anyway. Don't box her into thinking she's only going to excel at just one thing.

Experiences learned both from my own school yrs & with DD.

FriendlyLadybird Tue 02-Apr-13 12:49:54

I'd say ... nothing, except ensure that she has access to a wide range of really good books. Not necessarily 'advanced' books, just well written books. Let her find her own way to them, as well -- it's why going to the library is such a good idea.

You could take her to see some plays? After all, they are written to be performed, not read. If she wants to start writing plays inspired by that, then she will -- but you don't need to suggest anything to her. She's already reading and writing for pleasure -- don't put her off by turning it into 'work' or making it into something she's doing for you.

Sympathique Tue 02-Apr-13 15:28:40

lljkk I see where you are coming from, but it's a IMHO it's a mistake not to challenge/push children in things they are good at. They can end up underrating a subject simply because they've never had to try. Equally, I am against forcing children into things they're not naturally interested in (for whatever reason) as that can kill enthusiasm for learning (been there, had to do that, hated the t-shirt!). As her elder sister is 'into' maths/science, there will be plenty around to stimulate her and if she doesn't show an interest, then so be it

Blu Tue 02-Apr-13 16:54:02

If she enjoys writing plays, take her to the theatre. Not big musicals, good quality young people's theatre and productions also suitable for young people. And just enjoy it.

chickensaladagain Tue 02-Apr-13 21:07:37

thank you for the suggestions

unfortunately the theatre is not within my budget but we are regulars at the library

maree1 Sat 13-Apr-13 18:46:22

Yes, you should be building grammar skills. Google the BBC 500 words website for good examples of essays in age groups and also Creative Writing Magic Money Cards which help measure improvement as the skills build. Let your children push on into the language if they have a natural curiosity.

Wellthen Sat 13-Apr-13 19:46:54

At level 5 I actually wouldn't 'mark' her work but read it critically. The point of literacy is to firstly be literate, to enjoy english literature, media and language, to widen perspective and knowledge through reading and, possibly, to actually become a writer.

Much of these she will learn at school. At home, it might be nice for her to see herself as a writer. If she writes stories then read and discuss them. Is the story interesting? Does it have pace or does it drop off or race along too fast. Is it gripping? Can you guess the ending too easily? Do the characters have depth or are they cliched?

Equally if she writes non-fcition texts then read them as a reader. If she wants, she can edit them and ask you to re-read them just as a real writer would do.

To extend her I would ask her to challenge herself in the content rather than the style or grammar - describe something dull (like a table, chair, binbag, pavement), write instructions for something that is hard to explain, argue for something she is actually against.

A level 5 child most likely has good grammar anyway, you have to use quite a wide range of punctuation to get a level 5. That's not to say don't look at it, just that I would be taking the opportunity to do things she wont necessarily do at school. (Once into GCSE the focus seems to be much more on the writing of others rather than their own.)

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