Parents almost always try to do the best they can with their children. If their child shows curiosity in a topic then most parents will fall over themselves to satisfy that interest – even if it does turn out to be fleeting and of little substance.
If you ask any parents they will be able to chronicle the major events of their child’s interests and values. What must become apparent is the relationship between early interests and the manner in which their young child sustains this involvement in later life. Parents will be able to make judgements as to whether early curiosity can manifest itself into a deep and genuine passion.
A two year old child who loves books and wants to be read is possibly going to turn into a reader. A child with a voracious appetite for books, ideas and words will probably enjoy the challenge some types of verbal reasoning question. Encouraging a nine year old to read to develop a wide and useful eleven plus vocabulary could be remarkably hard work – if there is, however, no history of a love of books. Of course there will be parents who do not enjoy reading but will do everything they can to encourage their child to read.
If, however, the home has a range of dictionaries reference books – and a much loved scrabble board – then exposure to competition and words could help to engender a life long interest.
Some eleven plus exercises do require a close look at the composition of letters within a word. Consider the letters A E I R L P. It is possible to make words of the letters.
Your score is how many words you can make.
You would expect an adult to find a reasonably wide number of words in five minutes. Would you expect an eleven plus child to find more or fewer? Naturally your answer must be – it depends.
Last week I worked with an eleven plus girl. The previous night she had been to the Barbican and had been awarded a Grade 5 in music (with distinction) on her clarinet. Grade 5 for a ten year old is a simply wonderful. Surely that is worth as many eleven plus marks as being able to build words from jumbled letters? This particular girl must have had an interest in music. She must have sustained this interest over a long period. Her parents must have offered considerable help and support. Her teachers must have been dedicated – and able. Her Grade 5 is not shared by the parents and the teacher – but they must live in the reflected glory of having identified an interest and then supported and developed the talent.
(By now some competitive adults will already be trying to make as many words as possible – and build on the paltry list I offered. Can any one get over forty?)