Reading incorporates two activities. But what is the most successful way of pulling these two elements together?
Most of us working in primary schools will have witnessed children who have the ability to decode texts at an appropriate level for their age, but who find it hard to grasp and hold the meaning of that text at the same time.
As a result they cannot engage in activities that build upon their reading, because they simply don’t have enough of an immediate understanding of what they have read.
In such cases what is happening is that the brain is working to translate each pattern of letters into a word, but because so much effort is put into this activity the brain does not then take the words of a phrase or sentence and convert those words into something meaningful.
As a result there is little ability for the child to answer any questions about what has been read and (more worrying in the long term) there can be no enjoyment in reading. Reading is a chore to be got through, not something to be enjoyed.
Unfortunately, many resources that exist to help primary school children read, focus on helping children read the text, but don’t simultaneously focus on giving them something that is enjoyable to read.
And so it was to provide this additional vital element in primary school literacy that we have produced the new edition of Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension – Years 1 – 6
The books in this series contain a variety of types of comprehension passages ranging from newspaper articles and dialogues to plays, stories and poems. Each is followed by a series of enjoyable tasks for the children to undertake which test and stimulate their understanding of what they have read.
There is a lot more information about these books and their content on our website.
The books can be ordered either as a PDF for £13.99 or as a hardcopy book for £19.99. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price.
What are the two activities that develop pupils’ ability with French far more effectively than any other?
The answer is, as you may already know, through the use of stories and through singing.
Because both stories and songs put the French the children hear and vocalise into a full context, the words become much more meaningful and become learned as part of sets of phrases which are a part of everyday experience.
As a result, the more you can encourage the children in your class to speak French sentences and to sing in French, the more rapidly they will progress.
Which in turn is why Learn French with Luc et Sophie is such a successful approach to the teaching of the language at KS2.
Each part of the course incorporates no fewer than 14 French storybooks written at the appropriate level along with creative teaching ideas to maximise the pupils’ ability to learn to speak the language.
Each story is topic-based using simple sentences based around key vocabulary and language structures.
And then, in addition, each unit contains an original song to reinforce vocabulary. Because the children will be happy to sing the songs over and over, the vocabulary and grammar becomes more deeply embedded within their consciousness.
Indeed, if you have ever noticed how children can pick up the lyrics of everything from nursery rhymes to popular songs you will appreciate just how incredibly powerful the rhyme and song element can be – especially when, as in this case, the songs are written to fit exactly with the vocabulary being learned.
The Learn French with Luc et Sophie course follows the Foreign Language Programmes of Study in the September 2014 National Curriculum for KS2 and is written with non-specialists in mind.
Full details of the Years 3 and 4 course can be found here while the Years 5 and 6 part of the course is explored here. In each case there are sample audio files of the songs and sample materials.
Football is fun for so many children and it provides rich resources for reluctant readers. No matter who wins tonight, Arsenal or Chelsea, for many people it will the source of fun, discussion and disagreement. Sheila Blackburn has written a series of stories about football specifically designed for reluctant readers in promote schools. As you will know, one of the challenges with reluctant readers is capturing their attention and imagination. Stories about football are one solution to this, particularly when as well written as these ones and at a time when UK teams will win the Europa League and the Champions League.
Sam’s Football Stories are specially written to stimulate and motivate slower learners and reluctant readers. Written by Sheila Blackburn, an experienced primary school teacher, the six compelling stories in Set A, tell the story of Sam, a football crazy boy. Let your pupils follow this dream come true for Sam and his friends. Join in the fun and excitement as they begin training, pick a team, join a league and enter a tournament.
provide stimulation and motivation especially for slower learners and reluctant readers
have gripping story lines make children want to read the next book
are compatible with the Primary Literacy Strategy category of everyday stories
are designed to look like books more able readers are reading with attractive covers and black and white illustrations inside
have carefully controlled vocabulary and sentence structure for easy reading
have an increasing number of words per book as you progress through the series
have a clear font and print style
To extend the stories further, use the Teacher’s Guide – Your Chance to Score!, a photocopiable teacher resource linked to the stories in Set A.
Like to try before you buy? Request your free copy of the e-book Football Crazy, the first story in the series, now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Try these ideas for bringing some fun into your foreign language teaching. They can be adapted for use with almost any modern foreign language (MFL).
100+ Fun Ideas for Practising Modern Foreign Languages in the Primary Classroom
The children need to be sitting on chairs in a circle.
Give every child a word or phrase to remember, with each word allocated to more than one child.
Call out one of these and everyone responsible for it must get up and find a new seat.
Occasionally, call out ‘Fruit Salad’ and everyone must change places.
You could ask a child to stand in the centre of the circle and call out the words instead of you. This child should then try to take the place of one of the children who gets up. It is then the turn of this child to call out the words or phrases.
With a map as a reference, ask the children to pretend that they are on television and presenting a weather forecast.
Cut out weather shapes which can be moved around on the map to make it more authentic and interactive. This activity can also be done using an interactive whiteboard.
If you are practising the words for clothes, try this fun game with willing children.
Provide two piles of clothes identical in type and colour.
Name an item of clothing and its colour.
A point goes to the team who correctly identifies and puts on the item of clothing first. This is guaranteed to have the children in fits of laughter.
If your learners know the words for items of clothing and colours, ask the children to write a commentary for a fashion show and then perform it using dressing-up clothes.
They will have a lot of fun deciding which clothes to wear as they strut along the catwalk.
On the phone
Try using two telephones and ask the children to sit back-to-back whilst holding a conversation. This makes the interaction more challenging, as there are no visual clues.
This is a particularly authentic setting for discussing the weather as normally you would never ask someone what the weather is like if you are in the same place.