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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thinking and the Eleven Plus

A study done in the USA back in 1931 suggested that the best time to teach reading was when a child had reached a mental age of six and a half years. This lead to the concept of `reading readiness’. Along with this age was the feeling that if a child was taught to read before six and a half, than the child would suffer lasting harm.

It was thought that it was possible to teach children to read before six and half – but that it was not genuine reading – it was called `barking at print’ - where a child worked from memory and understood little of what he or she was reading.

The age of transition to senior school was worked out by a study, over fifty years ago, which suggested that a child would be ready to leave junior school at around the age of eleven.

We could call this age, for the sake of argument, `Readiness for the Eleven Plus’.

To help a child to be ready for the eleven plus we can do many different activities from working on reading vocabulary to helping a child understand how pie charts work.

If a child is not ready to pass the eleven plus on the day of the examination, do we use the term `barking at examinations’?

Or do we call the eleven plus examination `barking mad’ because it relies so heavily on a child being able to remember facts and methods – and requires little original thought?

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