Tag Archives: Reading

How does work, work, these days?

Increasingly children and those in the world of work have stopped thinking in straight lines

Straight-line thinking is what shop assistants used to use, in the days when we had shop assistants and, come to that, shops.  You could walk into a shop and look around wondering where a particular product was, and the shop assistant would say, “Can I help you?”

I actually tried that yesterday, wanting to buy a rucksack for an 18 mile walk I had signed up to, for reasons that will most certainly not become clear at this point.

But unfortunately, the strategy failed. The three shop assistants inside the very well-known sports store did finally stop talking to each other.  One of them looked at me curiously, evidently bemused that I should be asking a question.  I persisted in my quest, and eventually he said “upstairs” before picking up his mobile phone which had just pinged.

Old-fashioned straight-line thinking would have suggested he might accompany me and help me make the purchase, but no, that is far too passé for the modern world.

And the reason… well, management don’t train staff anymore, because ultimately, they’ll shut the shops and sell everything on-line where straight line thinking is irrelevant – as we can see each time we do a search on Google.  We get answers, certainly, but mostly not to the questions we ask.

So how do people who work in businesses and/or on-line actually think if not in straight lines?  The answer is that they think in the same way lots of contemporary novelists think. In multiple jumps and associations.

To see what I mean I would like, if I may, to direct you to a web page.  When you get there, print the page out (if you don’t you’ll end up standing on your head). 

Of course, children can’t make this leap to a new form of thinking instantly, so you might want to take it step by step by trying this page first of all.

We have produced three books of graphic organisers which start children on the journey towards developing the critical thinking skills needed in today’s contemporary world.

Doing this doesn’t mean that we don’t value logical linear thinking – of course that is still needed.  But in the modern world this alternative approach to problem-solving is becoming dominant, and that is what the “Graphic Organisers Pack” explores through a large series of graphics such as these.

Of course, not every modern organisation uses this non-linear thinking approach – many of them prefer a third option, which generally consists of everyone shouting at each other.  But personally I prefer a quieter life.

You can read more about how we can help children understand the new approach to thinking and planning which many young people, and those who run businesses, are adopting by looking here.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, How children learn, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

To subject or not to subject?

The one thing about the rules of grammar is that without context they ain’t much help

Now I know “ain’t” isn’t a word that you would want to encourage in a child’s essay – unless, of course, you had a particularly precocious writer in the class who had already developed an understanding of the “voice” of each character in a story.

Likewise there is little to be gained from worrying about the grammatical issues raised by Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy by wondering how the subject of the opening line turned up at the end of the line. 

So what’s my point?

My point is that for me to be able to get away with writing a paragraph consisting solely of “So what’s my point?” starting with a preposition which the rule books say should be followed by “that”, is that we all of us first need to know the rules of grammar before we start taking liberties.

But (and there, I’ve done it again, this time starting a paragraph with a conjunction) rules are always best learned in context.  In the case of language, in the context of how authors use grammar in their writing.

For if one starts from the work of authors, and works from there into the grammatical rules, rather than starting from the grammatical rules themselves, three things happen. The learning becomes context-driven, the lessons are more varied, and the understanding of how language can be manipulated for pleasure is ingrained in the child.

This consideration led Charlotte Makhlouf to experiment with how she taught grammar in her classroom.  And (oh, I’ve done it again, starting with “and”) so Charlotte used her classroom experience (not to mention her experience writing the best-selling series Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension) to write a new grammar series which teaches grammar in context.

In Getting to Grips with English Grammar grammar and punctuation skills are taught in the context of themes, rather than in isolation. Each unit starts with an engaging reading passage, so pupils can see how the grammar skill being taught is used in context. Activities link to the themes and provide opportunities for children to apply the grammar skills in their own writing.

Of course, the books also provide activities to stretch the more able or fast finishers, mini-quizzes at the end of each themed section to enable you to check children’s comprehension, and answers to the pupil activities.

Click here to see the contents of each of the books in the series

Click here to order the Getting to Grips with Grammar and Punctuation Series Pack for £95.00 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school

Knowing is one thing, understanding is another

Knowing good grammar is one thing but understanding grammar is something else entirely.

The single most powerful way that one can express oneself is by using one’s own words. And whilst it may appear that young people can express themselves orally or in writing when explicitly asked to do so, how many of them are truly using their own words, as opposed to those copied from others?

It is only when children are taught why we speak and write the way we do, through grammar and punctuation lessons, that they can develop the skills needed to manipulate words and sentences to make them their own – enabling them to clearly and uniquely express themselves in their Literacy lessons and beyond.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar is a series for teaching grammar to pupils in Years 1-6, written by Charlotte Makhlouf, author of our best-selling series, Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension.

The Getting to Grips with English Grammar series is built on the premise that pupils need to put grammar and punctuation rules to the test in both their reading and writing in order to understand grammar and its subsequent impact.

This brand-new activity book series integrates engaging reading comprehension passages and writing tasks with accompanying activities. The grammar is introduced in a systematic way and concepts are revisited as you progress through the scheme to ensure firm understanding.

For more information and to see sample pages, simply visit the links below.

Getting to Grips with English Grammar for…

  • Year 1 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 2 (£19.99) Buy Now! 
  • Year 3 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 4 (£19.99) Buy Now!
  • Year 5 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist
  • Year 6 (£19.99) Release Date: End of June 2019 – Add to Wishlist

Click here to add the complete series (£95.00) to your Wishlist.

Can’t wait until end of June 2019? Buy Getting to Grips with English Grammar for Years 1-4 now by visiting the above links.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, National Curriculum, Primary school

Want to live longer? Read a book!

Book readers live two years longer (on average) than non-book readers, according to an article published in the Social Science and Medicine Journal.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/08/book-up-for-a-longer-life-readers-die-later-study-finds

The survey of more than 3500 people found that the more that people read, the longer they live, but that as little as 30 minutes a day was still beneficial in terms of survival.

 

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Filed under Children's fiction, English, News

Early intervention is key for dyslexia

A research study by the University of California at Davis has shown that children with dyslexia are already falling behind by Grade 1. Therefore early intervention is crucial if these children are to catch up with their peers.

http://www.theaggie.org/2015/11/10/uc-davis-develops-intervention-program-for-dyslexic-children-2/

They are now trialling an intervention programme which is ‘both code and meaning-based’  Reading between the lines, I think what they mean by ‘code based’ is a focus on phonics: helping ‘kids learn how to put sounds together to make words, so they will be able to recognize and read them later on.’  Meaning-based focuses on developing higher-order language and comprehension skills.

I look forward to hearing the results of this study.

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Filed under News, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

A Systematic Way of Teaching French Phonics

We are delighted that Dr Robert Woore, Lecturer at the University of Oxford, has written the following review of Physical French Phonics. Sue Cave and Jean Haig, the authors of Physical French Phonics, have been developing their scheme for teaching French phonics for many years, so it is wonderful to have such an excellent public endorsement.

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Getting the meaning: free creative teaching resource

So what do gsoh, lol, twimc, teotwawk, 2n8, and abithiwt stand for? I started thinking about the meaning of words today and got sidetracked into text speak. Whilst many sms abbreviations are for phrases that are new to me I was pleasantly surprised at how many of our older sayings have survived the technology switch.

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Filed under Key Stage, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Teaching Ideas