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Struggling in English -yr 9

(15 Posts)
ShortandAnnoying Mon 05-Feb-18 17:44:06

Dd got her report back today. They are giving teacher predictions for their future grades to help with GCSE option choices. She is a hard worker and predicted 5 or above in most subjects. But in English only 2/3. She has always had a problem with spelling and looking through her work there are a lot of spelling mistakes. Her grammar can be wrong and she often structures her sentences a little oddly. She does seem to grasp the concepts and understands things such as metaphors and alliteration (which she spells illiteration). She does seem to understand the stories she reads and at least grasp some of the meanings. She is not a keen reader and is a little slow but she enjoys it and seems to read quite fluently, although she does sometimes pronounce more difficult words wrongly and sometimes doesn't know what they mean. She's not very good at sounding out unfamiliar names.
She did tell me her English class has been very badly run this year. They started out with a substitute teacher and there was a lot of bad behaviour. However I do feel this isn't the whole story and she needs some help to improve her work. I'm not sure where to start. Can anyone suggest anything?

MrsLandingham Mon 05-Feb-18 18:05:56

Hello OP. English HOD here. Your daughter needs to read, read, and then read some more. Nothing will have a more transformative effect on her English than regular, independent reading. This is because the new exams need confident readers (I heard reading age of 15 bandied around somewhere), who can read a text quickly and form an opinion on it. The skills targeted are very specific; language analysis, structural analysis and so on, and there is no higher or foundation tier - everyone sits the same exam. (Thanks, Mr Gove angry) Weaker kids tend to just repeat the information in the text without analysing or interpreting it in any way.

20% of the marks are for SPaG, so accuracy in sentence structure and spelling is vital. The CGP guides are good, and there are helpful tutorials on YouTube. Reading is the silver bullet, though. HTH.

ShortandAnnoying Mon 05-Feb-18 19:14:13

Thanks so much that's really helpful. I know dd is keen to improve and will try her best but knowing what to focus on is a big help. Of course reading can be fun too so it will be easier to encourage her do lots of that than just copying out spelling words.

Dancingdreamer Mon 05-Feb-18 22:01:25

What do you do if your DC just hates reading? My youngest DS is in the same situation. I have tried to encourage him to read with a whole variety of books both fiction and non-fiction. He hates them all. He is a very slow reader and half the time can’t remember what he has just read when I ask him. The school says there are no dyslexia issues. What do I do to help him?

marl Mon 05-Feb-18 22:12:29

dancingdreamer have you tried storycds? They can fill DCs with language. Depends how young your children are but all my DSs loved them and you can get ones for older kids eg 'Skulduggery Pleasant' etc. The Book People often have good quality sets on offer.

DayKay Mon 05-Feb-18 22:43:13

Find books she can enjoy. Even if they’re targeted at readers younger than her.
Read with her. Listen to her read and read a chapter to her.
I’ve tecently read Harry Potter to my yr 8 ds as neither of us had read it. Although he was never interested in reading it, he really enjoyed listening to it and I enjoyed it too.
Watch tv, documentaries and films with subtitles on.
Buy newspapers and ask her to read articles and discuss it.

MaisyPops Tue 06-Feb-18 06:48:11

MrsLandingham has got there before me.
Absolutely agree with her.

I have students in ny class who could get 7s but they're on 5s/6s at this stage of y11 because of exam technique. Personally, I think the language exams try to do too much.

Lots of reading. Get her workbooks on SPaG.
To be honest, whilst a disruptive start to the year isn't ideal it's unlikely to be the reason she's got those weaknesses (i say that having picked up groups at this stage in the year after lots of disruption). It won't have helped but these are probably ongoung weaknesses.

MrsLandingham Tue 06-Feb-18 07:17:13

Thank you, Maisy smile

Dancingdreamer, I know of no guaranteed way to motivate a reluctant reader, and frankly, if I did, I wouldn't still be teaching - I'd be retired, counting my fortune. Two thoughts are:

1. Your DS must be able to see you sitting down, reading books. This reinforces reading as a pleasurable leisure activity. Quite often parents (not saying this is you smile) lament to me that their children don't read, but upon questioning it becomes apparent that they themselves never do, either.

2. Consider getting him tested for Mears-Irlen Syndrome. This is a condition where words appear to jump and squirm around on white paper. Tinted glasses and overlays can have a remarkable effect. If your child finds reading difficult, but isn't dyslexic, this might be the cause.

WaterBuffaloDancing Tue 06-Feb-18 11:04:41

We have always made reading a daily activity. Started with reading them bedtime stories and progressed to them reading in bed every night before sleep.

Ds1 is in year 10 and I still read to him. He gets to enjoy the story as I read it and then he reads a page every 10 pages or so.

It is like all things children may not like, like teeth brushing, it is something that has to be done. Then discuss what you have read.

My two sons have been forced to watch Pride and Prejudice/Sense and Sensibility for several reasons. It gives context to when a book is written and the social expectations of the time (important to know for poetry reading- what was happening in the world when it was written) and we pause the tv and we talk about what has just happened on the screen - motives of characters, why did they just do that?

I have a degree in English but both my children excel in maths/science/computers. I am determined they will enjoy English grin

Dancingdreamer Tue 06-Feb-18 19:25:03

Thank you to those who also replied to my question. I had thought about audio story books.

My DS does see us reading. My DH reads all the time and so do I (I did an English degree) and we did regularly read to him when he was youger.

I have asked before if the words jump on the page but he says no.

He just hates reading and I cannot find a way to get him interested in books!

DayKay Tue 06-Feb-18 22:22:54

Dancingdreamer how old is your ds? My ds only got really interested in reading when he could read more exciting books at around 11. He enjoys horror and loves YA books now he’s almost 13.
Have you tried short stories? I had some success with a series called Guys Read. They have short stories in different genres.
I also had success with choose your own adventure books. Especially Fighting Fantasy series.

Smellylittleorange Fri 09-Feb-18 00:00:19

Funnily enough last night yr9 dd was told at parents eve to read more. We got a great book list thinking of starting a mother daughter book club. She was quite intrigued by the ones that had warning stars on them !

Dancingdreamer Sat 10-Feb-18 23:22:40

DayKay - my son is just 13. In the past we did have some success with a children’s Shakespeare series so short stories may be an option. But honestly I have tried everything! Spy novels, science books, books of facts, adventures, Horrid Histories, classic novels, poetry, Percy Jackson, Enid Blyton, Michael Morpurgo, Bear Grylls, football magazines....The list goes on. I have lost count of the hundreds of unread books I have sent to the charity shop!

DayKay Sun 11-Feb-18 09:20:30

Dancingdreamer how about one of these? They are short paragraphs of text with a choice to make at the end of the text. It doesn’t make reading daunting, if he doesn’t like books.

DayKay Sun 11-Feb-18 09:23:03

Dancingdreamer I think you need dice and a notebook too to do battles, or something.

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