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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 12:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 pm
Posts: 48
Hello,

I know the best way to learn literacy/vocabulary is to read a lot. But whats the recommendation for children who are not very avid readers but bright in other ways (generally smart, clever, good at numeric/technical subjects eg maths and science). I have a VERY bright DC outstanding in numeracy and technical subjects, but not interested in literacy/reading. What can I do to teach him vocabularies?

I searched for essential vocabulary lists so DC can just memorize them and found some basic ones, not very good ones. His and his friends local schools dont seem to bother much (most kids in these primaries dont know english words that some immigrant kids know.)

If anyone has exp of good preparatory schools like Bute House, Colet Court, Westminster junior, St Christopher etc, can you tell me if these schools have any set lists of vocabularies to teach/learn? Whats their teaching methods like for English/Literacy? Or is it just kids in these schools are made to read a lot? I am sure there must be some kids like my DC (generally very bright and smart but not good readers), whats their teaching method for them? Please share your experience/ideas/tips...

Might just make him swallow a whole dictionary...(one German immigrant friend is half way through Oxford dictionary!)

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 7:27 am 
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What about a children's newspaper such as FirstNews?


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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 7:41 am 
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Listen to decent radio? Good quality talk is easy to access and increases vocabulary too. Oracy is sadly underrated in English education but being able to talk and listen is just as important as being able to read. None of my children has been the 'avid reader' so prized of ambitious parents, but they are all highly articulate with wide vocabularies. I think one reason is that we talk a lot here :lol: but also the older two certainly do a lot of podcasting of good radio now on subjects which interest them.

As a teacher I always encouraged my students to listen to the radio and even watch the news on TV - so few of them did anything like that. It's a contentious thing to say, but I think there is too much emphasis on reading as a kind of moral virtue, and there is pressure on parents to ensure that children are always doing it 'for pleasure' when some children like your son don't really find it a pleasure! Why must they? Agree with KS10 about newspapers too- you don't have to be reading highbrow fiction and in fact so much of the English syllabus these days is media based that news stories are just as useful. There are also online news sites which focus on unusual or offbeat stories - I used them a lot as material in English teaching tailored to individual children, who maybe were interested in science or animals or sport.

Think outside the box, do a bit of googling, talk and listen!


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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 10:28 am 
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Would he listen to audiobooks? My kids have always loved listening to them - started when my eldest was about 4 as she wasn't interested in reading but wanted stories constantly. And then as she learnt to read it was still a long time before she could actually read the stories she was interested in! She had a great vocabulary for her age.

Or to you reading to him - doesn't have to be fiction? I read my ten year old son several bits out of A Short History of Nearly Everything one holiday. He sounds similar in interest to your son and for several years was more likely to be found reading non-fiction than fiction (i agree with Amber actually about people getting a bit hung up on their kids reading story books) and now he's twelve it's about half and half, although he's still not the fastest reader. At the moment he has "Alex's Adventures in Numberland" and "BZRK Reloaded" on the go :-)


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:57 pm 
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Thanks Aliportico, Amber and KS10 for your valuable suggestions.

FirstNews looks very good. is there any literary magazines for children? I might try ReadersDigest too, but it is for more grown ups. SundayTimes used to have a kids section few years ago called FundayTimes, but stopped.

Audiobooks will be quite difficult for this type of kids, they are hyperactive and lacks concentration. i might try watching together BBC news and some documentaries.

Is there any good 'list' of, say, essential vocabularies for KS2/KS3? Do good preparatory schools follow any age-related 'list' or syllabus of vocabularies? GRE/GMAT books have some lists not sure if suitable for 11+ etc.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:10 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
Have you tried the magazine, 'How it works'? Very stimulating sci / tech reading material and also, good for discussion.
Agree with radio programmes- just listen to it during breakfast (something like the Today programme).

I think Wordshark cd has a ks3 word list specific to each subject.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
DIY Mum wrote:
Have you tried the magazine, 'How it works'? Very stimulating sci / tech reading material and also, good for discussion.

+1 - definitely appeals to the type of boy who is a capable reader but not enamoured of fiction.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:08 am 
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I can't speak for prep schools these days but I went to one myself many moons ago. I came out with a good vocabulary (age 11) which was probably better than my children's will turn out to be despite the fact that my children probably read more books at home than I did. They are at state primary. The differences I note are:

- my children rarely look anything up in a book or a dictionary at school
- the majority of the reading they do is at home, not school
- there is a paucity of books used in lessons at school, and the books that are available to take home are rubbish
- lessons do not require them to read very much at all
- homework does not require them to find anything out from a book
- there are more group activities where children are listening to one another's limited vocabulary and less time listening to a teacher with a wide ranging vocabulary
- the books children enjoy reading these days have a more limited vocabulary
- we did exercises in English which probably developed my vocabulary, spelling and grammar all at the same time. This kind of thing is not fashionable now except at maybe level 6 SPAG bog but we did that kind of thing from very early on and enjoyed it
- we copied from the board quite a bit (considered very bad practice now)
- we did dictations (viewed as outdated now)
- any text books which do exist now seem to ask questions rather than provide readily accessible information

I do not know if I am giving you a state versus independent comparison, or a now versus then comparison, or a my school versus my children's school comparison.


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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:36 pm
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IME, the best way to enhance your child's vocabulary is to read aloud to him/her. It works for the following reasons:

1. You are likely to be reading more challenging books to them than they could read themselves (even if they are good readers).

2. Sharing a book and talking about it together afterwards will reinforce the learning (more so than if they just read the book alone themselves).

3. Reading a book with your child is a way of modelling the kind of behaviours you want to see from your child. If you read, show that you value reading, and show that you invest time in reading, it is more likely that your child will read.

4. By reading books together it will be easier for you to find out what types of books hold their interest. I have one DS who loves fantasy books (Eragon etc) but my younger DS is much more interested in fiction that is based on the real world (Alex Rider series).

5. Reading aloud with your child is better than giving them audio books to listen to. If you show them that you are prepared to invest your time in reading, they will see that it is something worthwhile.

Sorry if that sounded like a lecture, but this is something that I feel passionate about. A great book to start off with is this one by Lucy and Stephen Hawking (so there's loads of good science) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Georges-Secret- ... e+universe

Good luck and happy reading to you both.


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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 10:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 pm
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Just found The Essential Spelling Book by Fred J Schonell that contains 3000 most used basic words that all primary students should know. Seems quite good, with 3 accompanying workbooks.

I think there is another famous book that contains 10,000 most used words. Still looking for it, will share once I find it.


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