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Friday, May 24, 2013

The Speed of Reading Eleven Plus Questions

“Slow down. Slow down. Read the question.”

“You just need to skim the passage the first time you read it.”

These appear to be contradictory statements – but they apply to different types of eleven plus questions. Encouraging the eleven plus child to slow down suggests that the content needs to be read word by word. The second command appears to promote reading with a slightly wider eye span. Some children may find it rather difficult to speed read the following question:

“Which is the odd one out?”

Strolled walked ran flew trudged.

We then come to different type of reading:

The Caterpillar and Alice
looked at each other
for some time in silence:
at last the Caterpillar
took the hookah 
out of its mouth,
and addressed her 
in a languid, sleepy voice.
'Who are you?' 
said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening
for a conversation.
Alice replied, rather shyly,
'I—I hardly know, sir, 
just at present
at least I know who I was
when I got up this morning,
but I think
 I must have been changed
several times since then.'

The eye span will be able to accommodate this form of presentation reasonably easily. Some people find that it is possible to skim passages with few words on a line.

Some parents may find that they actually have to point out the differences in the styles of reading. I will never forget the very bright nine year old child who maintained that she did not know that she had to read the passage in order to answer to answer the questions.   

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