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The wide and deep subject of English encompasses better communication. English skills improve your child’s ability to express himself and to understand the world.
Reading is essential in nearly every class and subject in school to comprehend instructions and course material, with most people agreeing that reading is the most important life skill.
We teach reading from its basic requirements of sound/letter correspondence through to word attack and comprehension skills as ideas become more complex.
These classes may be offered within the context of an English class at certain times and are more appropriate for students in Y9 and above.
Processing information accurately and efficiently is hugely important in an information saturated world. Improved speed in reading assists with comprehension and essay writing, essential components for success at school.
Students learn the techniques of speed reading and are encouraged to increase their speed on a weekly basis with exercises that take approximately 30 minutes. These exercises increase reading efficiency, by improving tracking, concentration, perception, and use of peripheral vision to read more words at once..
Essay writing is key to success at secondary school. The basics are important – grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Vocabulary development is also very important. Intelligent thought is always limited by the words that you have. You can’t think without words; words give voice to feelings, so the greater your vocabulary, the more you can understand your own thoughts and feelings, thus making it easier to communicate those thoughts and feelings with others around you.
The structure of your essay is important. Information that is ‘packaged’ in a well structured approach is crucial. Often we are ‘selling’ an idea or a concept to an audience or expressing a point of view, so to do this in an effective manner is an art that takes time to learn and practise. There are a variety of essay templates that students will find beneficial and later, good writers begin to grasp it in a more intuitive manner.
Content is next. You have to have something worthwhile to communicate. For some students they may not actually understand the text so a surface understanding is required, as is a deeper perception of hidden meanings within a text. Discussion with the teacher is vital and helps build that emotional intelligence where students begin to understand literature. Literature is often a reflection of life; why people think, feel and act in the way that they do.
Review and discussion is on-going. Whilst we can’t actually write the essay for our students, often it’s helpful to have someone review the work…and we all need help with those clumsy comments or sentences! Remember, there are good ways of communicating and better ways…essay writing is the art of discovering those better ways.
The biggest mistake parents make is leaving it too long before they get support for their child. For many boys a good story is about action…but actually it’s the reaction, the thoughts and feelings, that creates depth in the story and this needs to reflect itself in the essay. An early start to essay writing is highly recommended – Y7 and above.
For students who require, or would like a more in-depth approach to writing, the writing workshop is a good place to explore text and its intricacies. Success at secondary school often comes down to your ability to communicate effectively on paper- from short answers through to essay work.
These classes are designed for students in that Y7 to 10 range, prior to moving into an Exam Plus Class for NCEA.
Students are tutored individually but some group teaching may also take place. This emphasis on written work often highlights the need for skills development in other areas of English, sometimes involving: vocabulary development, grammar, spelling, comprehension or speed-reading skills.
Call us if you would like to discuss your child’s options as we prepare them for the challenges of high school and exams.
We can help support children new to the English language with work that relates letters and letter blends to sounds and develops their overall understanding and pronunciation of spoken English. These ESOL classes are generally taught on a one-to-one basis for one hour duration.