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how to help a child learn comprehension/ analysis of text? 10 yo - preparing for 11+

(20 Posts)
schooling123 Fri 30-Mar-18 13:36:03

my DS is preparing for 11+. What are the best ways to help him learn comprehension? He gets bored with excercises. I thought to try guided reading activities from twinkl? Are there any other resources/ways? Thank you

OP’s posts: |
SuperPug Fri 30-Mar-18 13:39:20

The end goal should be the motivator to an extent -does he want to go to that school? Does he realise the opportunities it may give him, depending on the school?
Bond books are good.
A lot of schools put up 11+ papers and they can be tougher but more realistic- answers are not normally provided though.

SuperPug Fri 30-Mar-18 13:42:40

He should be reading other books outside of school. From marking these type of papers, it is normally obvious as to which pupils have a greater understanding and vocabulary from wider reading.

Julraj Tue 03-Apr-18 11:48:10

He's a boy and sadly for you, boys tend to treat this test as being very dull. Maths questions have a set process to the correct answer - this normally provides boys with the satisfaction they're looking for. With English comprehension it's not so simple. The questions (and their answers) tend to be more subjective and answering them requires careful consideration.

First step - Boys like to scan-read the texts for facts in the hope of quickly answering the easy questions. If your boy is doing this then they need to stop, they're only giving away easy marks. Encourage them to read the whole text before reading the questions.

Next, when your child is reading the text, encourage them to write a summary of it - characters, plot, objects etc below it as they're reading it. This helps a bored child understand and 'take in' a dull story. They may also want to underline or somehow mark a point in a text with a key moment or change (i.e. a part where a question will likely arise).

Lastly, they need to practise. It's easier said than done but if they're poor in practice then they will likely be poor in the real test. Surprise results are very rare in this style of assessment (hence why it's used!)

To help motivate boys, I've always brought numbers into it. E.g. if they score 10/30, encourage them to beat that score next time. If a question has 2 marks, they need to find two points to make within it etc.

Best of luck!

Feenie Tue 03-Apr-18 12:11:18

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

brilliotic Tue 03-Apr-18 13:00:23

I have zero experience with 11+ but for reading comprehension in general, is good. It starts very easy but continues to get quite hard/college level IIRC. You have a placement test to find the right level to start with, whenever you get a certain percentage right you move on to next level (or back to former level, if you get too many wrong). There are also explanations for the questions you get wrong.

If it is effectively comprehension practice that you are looking for, then 10 minutes of this every day might do the trick. You do have to think, the questions get quite hard; but as it is multiple-choice, you don't have to write out any answers, so if it is the writing that he finds wearisome, this might address that problem.

But if his comprehension is fine but he needs to learn exam strategies e.g. 'if it is a two-mark question, you need to make two points' then skip this and go straight to practice exam papers, I'd say. But that is just my uninformed 'common sense' opinion, and common sense can lead you astray when it is about things like 11+ exams.

schooling123 Tue 03-Apr-18 17:59:02

Juvraj "Next, when your child is reading the text, encourage them to write a summary of it - characters, plot, objects etc ". Do you mean for each comprehension tasks he does at home?

OP’s posts: |
lolalotta Tue 03-Apr-18 19:29:22


Julraj Wed 04-Apr-18 09:37:58

@schooling123 - Yes. Quite often children (and adults!) read a text but take little in, they read the words but are not in any way engaged with the story. What I've found helps is to summarise the text while reading it. It might seem laborious and that they're simply "rewriting the text" but it forces them to engage with it.

brilliotic Wed 04-Apr-18 09:47:03

schooling123, the comprehension tasks on force you to engage with the text too. Personally I find that when I write something down, I find I get a deeper understanding of it (and figure out the nuances of what I am trying to say, as I am saying it); however you can practise comprehension without always writing.
If you have 5-10 minutes a day, then reading a 3 minute long text followed by 6 minutes of summarising it in writing, whilst being great for getting a better understanding of that particular text, won't leave long to answer any specific questions/work on any particular comprehension skills. Whereas if you skip the writing, you have time to think about and answer questions targeted specifically at e.g. inference.

Julraj Fri 06-Apr-18 10:03:03

Good advice @brilliotic - I've always thought the problem with reading is engagement and that many children simply struggle to throw themselves into it. It's often hard not to blame them, so many texts are about "Martha meeting her grandparents" or something equally dull.

Feenie Fri 06-Apr-18 11:58:17

My above post was deleted because it was deemed to be aggressive. I said that julraj's post was gender stereotyping bollocks and, as an educator and a mother of boys, I stand by that opinion. The advice given is entirely valid, but the premise that such an attitude is present in boys is absolutely appalling, and has no place in education today. I am ashamed that any poster sees fit to post it, and even more ashamed that MNHQ think it's fine to delete a post that challenged such an archaic viewpoint.

user789653241 Fri 06-Apr-18 13:02:54

Yes, I agree with Feenie, quite surprised with MNHQ too, tbh. She was only challenging the sterotyping by the poster if I remember her post correctly.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Fri 06-Apr-18 22:22:07

Am open-mouthed at the utterly shameless gender stereotyping! Is this a zombie thread from the MN of the Victorian era?

Elmersnewfriend Fri 06-Apr-18 22:36:58

Am I allowed to say that Juvraj's post is gender stereotyping rubbish? Honestly, it's just breathtaking. Most children find comprehension like this dull, I certainly did.

AliceWhiteRabbit Sat 07-Apr-18 09:43:40

I am a mother of boys. They are both excelling in maths and English. I, however, am much better at maths than English as I have a mathematical mind and would rather scan the text looking for the correct answer even though I am very feminine. And I struggled with the abstract idea of English and finding the answer to something when there wasn't a specific answer. The post by *Juvraj" is stereotypical rubbish and I'm appalled that someone thinks like this in this day and age - very outdated, damaging and ignorant.

My boys like football, cricket but also like to sit quietly and do colouring...They're not aggressive either. As a mother of boys I am sick to death of this "boys will be boys". It's just not true.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 07-Apr-18 10:09:44

That post reads to me as if it were written by a retired primary teacher of ye olden times of myth where girls coloured neatly inside the lines and were made of sugar and spice and all things nice and boys ran around shouting and fighting and were made of slugs and snails and puppy dog tails. And girls were good at English and boys were good at Maths and no-one had ever heard of this silly nonsense of girls wanting to get into STEM <despairs>

8oOoOoOo8 Wed 11-Apr-18 18:35:41

Another who agrees with Feenie about the gender stereotyping bollocks

GuestWW Thu 12-Apr-18 13:20:57

Thank goodness the gender stereotyping has been called out.

EdgeOf17 Sun 15-Apr-18 12:01:52

julraj your post made me wince. What absolute nonsense. I have 2 boys, both of whom have approached education, maths and literacy in a completely different way to eachother.

The 1950s await you hmm

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