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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:11 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:12 pm
Posts: 110
Any advice on how to prepare the child to take an exam, I mean the part with comprehension and essay writing. When English is not used at home...and school does not give enough. What, it means no chance for Indie as they all require excellent English?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
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Location: Reading
I would get hold of lots of audio books for your child to listen to.

Also - there are a number of girls at my DD's indie who do not have excellent spoken English so they get extra support.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:27 am 
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The key is to read and very good range of literature. Listening to audio books is good too. If you then discuss whjat she has read this goes a long way to helping, especially talking about vocabulary both in English and your home language.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:39 am 
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Maybe the parents should make more effort to speak English at home?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:47 am 
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It is not about effort, we do speak English…but more everyday English (also speaking English only will be disadvantage too as the kids will not learn another language)….it is using this HIGH English with extensive vocabulary which one needs for essay writing in Indies exams! We do speak English, but our English will not help the child


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:49 am 
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I'm sorry that I can't add to the advice given by Pebbles and Reading mum, but on the plus side, in my experience, second language speakers of English often have a far better grasp and are far more accurate than native speakers when they have had the opportunity to learn the language. :)
I think that reading good literature and listening to audio books, especially with you so that your child can discuss them, is excellent advice. Good luck, Nina!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Hi, I don’t speak English at home with my son, however he does :)
I would say reading. We also encouraged him to keep log of words he does not know the meaning of when he reads and look it up in the dictionary. It is quite hard at first - he was not excited, but now he really enjoys it. He uses his IPod touch :) We test him later. For English comprehension - do Bond papers and also VR. Start with the easy ones and review. Right the words down, etc. He will get used to it and will build up the vocabulary. If you consistent – you will see the results pretty soon. It also helps to get an English tutor or someone who can help and review the papers with your son.
A friend of ours helped a lot to discuss the meanings of the words, etc. Some Indie papers use test from the classic English Literature that can be quite challenging even for native speakers. Hope that helps.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:09 pm 
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And for the writing - get list of topics and let your child write. You may need a tutor for that - once a week or so. When he gets better with his vocabulary, you can start on Indie papers that often require you not to white an essay but to continue the paragraph/topic discussed in the paper itself.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:23 pm 
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My best friends do not have English as their first language and try to encourage their children to speak Turkish as much as possible at home so that they can converse with grandparents, etc. This has not stopped their daughter getting through the exams and being asked for interviews at CLSG, NLC, HABS Girls as well as Latymer and Henrietta Barnett in the State sector. She does not go to a particularly good state junior school either and has a large proportion of English as second language children in her class. The answer has been to encourage her to read, read, read and read some more and do lots of practice papers and creative writing. They had limited tutoring just to give her creative writing a boost nearer the exams. She is, obviously, a bright girl, but has done this mostly on her own. It is possible!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
I am tutoring a boy for QE and DAO, St Albans and Habs. His mother who sits in on all the sessions has English as a second language. We find there are a lot of expressions that she does not understand like "into the bargain" These tend to crop up in comprehensions so it is important to do as many different past papers as possible. After working with this family for a few months I have come to realise just how many words and phrases crop up in comprehensions that will not have reached the vocab of a ten year old which is what some of them will be when they sit the selectives. If English is not used at home then no matter how bright the child he/she runs the risk of not being able to access some aspects of the comprehension paper. A strategy can be put into place to overcome this but it needs a clear focus and a recognition of just what a stumbling block it is. I have felt quite despairing for children in this position recently when I see these words from their point of view for the first time but we are making huge progress so I think it can be overcome. There was a candidate for DAO last year who was really able in Maths and was on top literacy table at school but the literacy encountered at school and in the DAO paper are worlds apart and this was what cost her the place. Unfortunately the family did not accept any offers of help because the school kept telling them how gifted she was. I was sure that with no English spoken at home and from a class of 30 there would not be enough input to overcome this and unfortunately I was right. I wish I was not because she would have soared at DAO. Knowing the problem is half way to solving it. A lot of parents assume that a child great at Maths is bright all round and wont have a problem. I heard this from parents repeatedly over the past few years and then you have this total disbelief come 1st March. I am sure that with proper preparation you will be able to overcome this problem. DG


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