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Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Eleven Plus and Christmas

One of the problems some Eleven Plus children face is learning to spread their wings and think laterally. For years the bright child may have been writing imaginative essays. Praise and encouragement, quite rightly, would have flowed. The Eleven Plus child may think that this is the only type of essay to be written.

The child has to be aware that there are many different types of essays. An essay entitled `Sleep’ could be considered from a number of viewpoints.

A descriptive essay on sleep would need to draw a picture in words. The reader would expect lots of adjectives and adverbs. There could be a number of similies (the clouds, disappearing like vampires) or metaphors or even some personification. (The shadow stood over us with long fingers ….)

A narrative essay about sleep would need to tell a story – where the child could relate an incident, or a story set in chronological order. The story would need to build to a climax and have elements of descriptive writing but should not rely too much on long winded descriptions.

The discussion on sleep would need to contain ideas and opinions. The point of the essay would be to arrive at a conclusion. You would want your child to try to give reasons – and write impersonally. This is where you could help your child the need to try to avoid sweeping statements. Why we need sleep, how much sleep children need and when children should go to bed!

A different type of essay on `Sleep’ could be attractive to a child with good knowledge on the subject. Suppose a member of the family had some form of sleep disorder – and that this in turn affected all the family. Your child could write authortively – and give some insight into the impact of a problem with sleeping on the rest of the family.

Then there could be a stimulus story – where your child could be shown a picture of someone asleep in a bed or beside a river. They could be told NOT to write a story.

Some parents may enjoy the challenge of working with their children to develop different styles of writing. Their children could even consider writing thank you letters for Christmas presents in different styles. This could surprise key members of the family!

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