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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 5:21 pm 
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I've been sorting through piles of my 11+ materials and re-discovered some very useful books for English preparation. It is a set of four books called 'Once a Week Comprehension', by Haydn Perry. There are 30 sections in each book and each section includes a short comprehension passage from children's classics and a few questions on general English (including vocabulary, some grammar, spelling and punctuation) and verbal reasoning.

The answers are not included in the books, but can be downloaded free of charge from the publisher's website:
http://www.pearsonglobalschools.com/ind ... Bucket%201

The series was first published in 1960, with the latest revised edition dated 2008. The contents is quite different from most other 11+ books currently on the market, and, in my view, often better. (Fronted adverbials are not covered, just good, old-fashioned basics. :wink:) I'd really recommend 'Once a Week Comprehension' for building up strong English skills.

I'm not sure how widely available these books are, but Amazon still sells them (book 1 is not available, but you might be able to find it somewhere second-hand).

:arrow: In case someone wonders why I'm saying all this - no, this is not to generate multiple PMs with attractive price offers. I have no intention of selling my set - keeping it for grandchildren (assuming there will be some in a distant future), so please don't ask. :D

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 4:24 am 
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Hi Purpleduck
i have ordered book 1 second-hand from amazon. My dd week point is English so i am always on the look out for something different to try.
Thankyou for posting this


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 5:02 am 
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Is it multiple choice or standard questions? Would you say they are for year 6 children or younger, such as year 3 or 4? Also, is the level of difficulty increasing with book 1 being the easiest and book 4 the hardest?


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 11:29 am 
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ninanina wrote:
Is it multiple choice or standard questions? Would you say they are for year 6 children or younger, such as year 3 or 4? Also, is the level of difficulty increasing with book 1 being the easiest and book 4 the hardest?

The comprehension questions are a mix of a standard format and options to choose from (a, b, c, d etc. ) but there is no answer sheet. All other questions are mainly standard format. For some questions there is no space provided to write the answers in, they would have to be written on a separate sheet of paper. In fact, when I used these books with DS, we often just talked through the questions and answers, rather than write anything down (it was much quicker that way and he still learnt what he needed.)

The comprehension passages are short but have at least 8 questions (and up to 12) to go with them, so require a reader to extract a lot of different information from a small amount of text. There are quite a lot of 'why' and 'how do we know' type of questions which are good for working on understanding and interpretation of the text. E.g. in Book 1 there is a text called 'The Dog and the Bone' and one of the questions asks, 'How do we know that the bone was a very fine one?'. In Book 4, there is an extract from 'The Glass Knife' by John Tully and one of the questions is, 'How do we know that this is a kingdom, not a republic?'.

The books are graduated in the level of difficulty, both through the series (Book 1 being the easiest) and within each book.

The 2008 edition does not stipulate the target age group, but the preface in a 1998 copy of Book 1 says: 'This book of English tests is intended for second-year pupils of Primary Schools. It can be used either for testing progress and ability, or it can serve as a textbook from which pupils can work alone or with teacher's help.' Book 2 says it's meant for 'third-year pupils', and so on. Having said that, Book 1 has some tricky general English and VR questions in it and I think it would be probably better for year 3 or bringing up to speed a year 4 child, for example. I would use Book 4 with year 5/6, depending on how good their English is and the other books anywhere in-between.

Bear in mind these books are not meant as practice for a particular style of an English test, but they help improve a child's general English skills.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 11:37 am 
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dizzyizzy65 wrote:
Hi Purpleduck
i have ordered book 1 second-hand from amazon. My dd week point is English so i am always on the look out for something different to try.
Thankyou for posting this
You are welcome. :) I don't know your DD's year at school, but if English is her weak point, Book 1 will be perfect for bringing her up to speed. The questions are very varied, so it will also help identify which areas need more work.

Depending on which edition you ordered, the book may have a blue section with answers in the middle - some older versions do.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:22 pm 
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hi my daughter is year 5 She is in top set for both maths and english. It is comprehension she struggles with. I have ordered book 1 ( to be delivered tomorrow ) and if she does find it too easy i will order book 4.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:40 pm 
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Sounds like a good idea, Dizzyizzy. The passages are short enough not to overwhelm her and if she finds Book 1 easy, it will help boost her confidence for tackling something a bit harder.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 7:07 am 
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PurpleDuck wrote:
Sounds like a good idea, Dizzyizzy. The passages are short enough not to overwhelm her and if she finds Book 1 easy, it will help boost her confidence for tackling something a bit harder.

Yes thats what i thought :)


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 4:43 pm 
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Thank you PurpleDuck. This will really help supplement the comprehensions that I've started to write. The first one did take a while but I've also been working through extracts with my DS verbally too :)


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:07 pm 
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Gosh, writing your own comprehensions is quite a task, I don't think I would be able to do that. I'm glad you find these books useful. Good luck! :)

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