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Saturday, October 28, 2006

11 Plus Fairy

I am asked at least once a week about what books a child should read. I think the children’s librarian in the local library should be able to answer that more comprehensively and competently than I can.

If a child is studying for the 11+ what books should be read? There is no easy answer. One child studying for the 11+ may have a reading accuracy age at least two years above his or her chronological age. The comprehension level could be two years younger. Do you ask the librarian for books at the uplifting 12 to 13 year old level or do you stick with books that a ten year old would enjoy?

Some ten year old girls are delighted to be immersed books like `Little Women’. Other girls could not countenance the language and the pace of the book. They would want to read a swift moving modern book.

Which girl is right? Well naturally the answer is somewhere in between. `Little Women’, for example, has a mention of a fairy when Tina is described by Jo as being a `perfect little fairy’.

There must be generations of children who have read or have heard the poem `Fairies’ by Rose Fyleman.

There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It’s not so very, very far away.
You pass the gardener’s shed and you just keep straight ahead -
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.

We know that a fairy is: `A tiny imaginary being in human form, depicted as clever, mischievous, and possessing magical powers.’ We know too of good fairies - and bad fairies.

It is probably time to invent the 11+ Fairy. This is the fairy that keeps our girls calm and focused. Naturally the 11+ Fairy will be clever and possess magical powers. The 11+ Fairy will pour her heart out and really communicate.

We just need to look back a mere eight years ago to when our bright ten year old was just two. At two she wore a lovely smile and dainty wings. She listened to you reading to her.

She listened to you.

She listened to you!

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