One of the problems that parents face as the eleven plus examination grow closer is how much they should expect their child to stay focused. Some children enjoy the working through papers. Though, these are usually the children who can do the work. For other children there can be no other torture as miserable sitting down to an eleven plus selection paper. Most children’s attitude to practice papers lies somewhere in between.
Some families find eleven plus examinations very hard work. I met a ten year girl last week who really wanted to be a dancer. She was used to going to dance classes five times a week. She moved beautifully and stood straight and proud. Her long hair fell to her waist. Every thing she did was a prelude to a career in dancing. Her mother spent a lot of time in the car and a lot of time simply waiting for the dance lessons to finish.
Her mum thinks she will pass, her school thinks she will pass and we think she should pass. She will sit down to her examinations having done very few papers and extra exercises. The only thing that could hold her up is that she is rather a slow reader. She reads `word by word’.
We all know that sometimes it is possible to get the gist of a question by speed reading and finding the main points. Our word by word reader does not appear to skim over any written material – she reads solidly and steadily. In her English examination there is a comprehension passage. This will be a straight forward passage – but there will be a lot of words she will need to plough through. We all know just how fast children need to move when they a tackling a verbal reasoning paper.
I am sure that no one would want, at this stage, to put any fear into her preparation. Equally it will be no good what so ever to advise her speed up without helping her to speed up. So we could start with advising her to look for key words. In the comprehension passage she could underline the key words. When she is working on verbal reasoning she must look for the words that could alter the interpretation of a question. I am sure we can all make a number of helpful suggestions.
So maybe one day, one of us will meet her as she is dancing on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. I hope we hear that she went on to do a degree in dance. I hope too that she will be able to chat about the books she has read and enjoyed. Most of all we just hope to hear that she is happy.
(BT Changed where we post our blogs on the BT server. BT did not tell us before they moved our work. The blog 16/09/07 was written but I could not post the blog.)