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How to help DS with his English GCSE

(13 Posts)
Autumnsky Wed 18-Nov-15 11:43:25

DS is in Y10.He is a very able student, he is good in most subjects. His strength is with math and science. However, his English has been good, he was entered Level 6 English in Y6, but didn't get it, but I think he was quite close.

In Y7, his English was quite good, teacher gave him a top grade. Then his English grade start to vary from Y8, sometimes, a top one, sometimes maybe down a grade. But yesterday, his report gave him only a middle grade.He said he didn't do well in a recent exam.

I am a bit worry about his English now, his original GCSE target would be A*/A, but now , it seems he may get a B , or even C.

I think originally, his English was good, because he is a very good reader, he read lots of books, and his memory is very good. So he has a really good vocabulary. That gave him some advance in English when it was simple. But know I guess as the English are harder, simply reading is not enough.

The trouble is I never get involved with his study since Y7, so don't know anything about what he studies, how he does it. I ask him to do a reading online programme eveyday now, so just 1 passage with questions. That's 5-10 munites a day. I also plan to buy some GCSE revision books to go through with him.

Do you have any suggestions?

Wolfiefan Wed 18-Nov-15 11:53:01

Email the teacher and ask exactly what the areas of weakness are.
It might be planning, accuracy of writing, adapting writing to suit task, analysing text. Etc. etc.

jeanne16 Wed 18-Nov-15 12:03:03

My son did GCSEs last year and is also very good at maths and science and hated English. I got the Mr Bruff revision guides for Language and literature and used them to work with him. They are all online, some are free while some have a small charge. He got A grades for both Lang and Lit which was nothing short of a miracle given where we started from.

Autumnsky Wed 18-Nov-15 12:10:06

Thanks, Wolfiefan, there is a parents eveing coming up, so I will ask the teacher this questions.

Thank you Jeanne 16, I will have a look at this Mr Bruff revision guides.

Tryingtokeepalidonit Wed 18-Nov-15 12:10:15

For Y10 his target will be numerical, if he achieved a 5a at KS2 it will be 8 out of 9 regardless of how he has done since. The new GCSE is considerably harder so make sure any guides you buy are for the new specification. He needs to still be reading but I would suggest including some classics - 1984, Brighton Rock etc. Also make sure he proof reads all his work, minor errors will cost.

Wolfiefan Wed 18-Nov-15 12:24:48

If you know the specification you should also be able to look on the website for sample papers etc.

Autumnsky Wed 18-Nov-15 12:53:39

School didn't give GCSE target, it is my own assumption based on his position in his class and the overall performance of the school. I hope we will get the information at this parents evening.

He reads everyday, however, I think his interests is a bit narrow, still focus on adventure, thriller or war history etc. Yes, I will ask for a recommond reading list. The trouble is , I don't know much about English literature myself, so never ask him to read anything, he just pick up what he is interested.

lasermum Wed 18-Nov-15 19:34:48

I would say don't worry. At parents evening in year 9, we were told that DS1 had to work very hard at English to get a grade C to ensure that he never had to study English again ( he is a bit of a maths/ science geek). That did help to focus his mind as he disliked English so much he certainly didn't want to risk retaking English.

In year 10 he was given the target of A* for both subjects (we both laughed at how ridiculous that was). In the event and with the support of a fantastic English teacher he achieved an A in both lit and language in his GCSEs this year. DS1 thinks this was more of an achievement that his A^ in further maths!

wannabestressfree Wed 18-Nov-15 19:44:03

He really should have a target grade. I am an English teacher and every one of my students knows their working at and their targets both for end of year and end of year 11.....

Wolfiefan Wed 18-Nov-15 19:49:06

Autumn. His reading may not be the issue. And reading widely is great but the GCSE tests more than simple understanding.

Autumnsky Thu 19-Nov-15 10:55:19

Yes, I think DS has read lots of books , and his vacabulary is great, actually, we always ask him if we don't know any word. That's why I think his reading had given him an advantage in Y6&7. But I think the English is more complicated once he get into Y10&11. He probably need to put a bit more effort into English now.

Their school hasn't given any target yet. I did ask yesterday, he said they will be given a predict grade in Y11. I will ask at parents evening.

balletgirlmum Thu 19-Nov-15 11:00:25

Both dd & Ds have issues with English despite being excellent readers (common with ASD children)

I find the CGP workbooks are very good. We use the KS3 ones but the do GCSE ones.

kjwh Thu 19-Nov-15 11:50:40

Our son also read a lot, but his marks/grades have been very up and down. He's fine technically with grammar, spellings, etc., but his understanding/comprehension is pretty poor. English teaching at his school isn't good, despite the school generally being good (exceptionally good at Maths and Sciences). They've had three different HODs in just three years and the teachers are constantly changing, so much so, they've had to bring an ex HOD out of retirement, initially as a cover teacher, but now full time.

Luckily I did A level English and OH has a good GCE, so between us, we're working on getting him to actually slow down and understand the book rather than just read it as a story. We make him read a chapter, then verbally give us a summary of what he's read. Then we talk to him about the themes, motivation of the characters, imagery, literary devices used, etc. We're also making him be more "picky" about the books he chooses. Gone right back to get him to read some children's classics that are too young for him, but which he never read when younger, such as Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes, etc., which is also going well.

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