Importance of Reading for 11+ Exam
Ever had a tough time getting your child to read? You’re not the only one.
A recent survey of parents with primary age children said it's one of the hardest things to build into their routines. Even if some children don’t want to read for pleasure, this skill is absolutely vital to creating a bedrock for future achievement.
Everyone agrees – employers, educators and institutions – a well-read student is a successful student.
So why does this matter so much when it comes to the eleven plus?
- Building an 11 plus vocabulary is a key part of passing this difficult examination.
- When you consider that there is a huge amount of verbal reasoning involved, and you need a good vocabulary, reading a variety of texts can give students a real edge.
- Creative writing relies on a strong understanding of story and vocabulary to get the highest grades.
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for parents to feel like getting their child to read can feel like pulling teeth – even when the eleven plus is on the line. So how can reluctant readers get the support they need?
11+ Reading Club
PiAcademy has developed a sure fire way to make reading fun and measure student achievement at the same time. Best of all, it is affordable, well-structured and based on the rigorous criteria of the eleven plus.
Here’s the core information you need to know:
- 1-year subscription
- Every Tuesday & Saturday
- Each session is 45 minutes: 6:15 PM – 7:00 PM (UK Time)
- All sessions on Zoom
- Suitable for Year 4, Year 5, and Year 6 Students
- Suitable for both 11+ Grammar and Independent Schools
The 11+ Reading Club is also designed to foster a life-long love of reading – not just for the eleven plus! This can be seen in the sheer variety available on the course:
- Extensive Reading from Various Genres
- Building Excellent Vocabulary
- Enhancing Critical and Creative Thinking
11+ Reading Club is based around the reading materials provided to the top grammar students in the country – and has already proven popular with many parents. It's not just for students who already enjoy reading.
In fact, PiAcademy has built unique texts and variety into the course to ensure you can build 11+ vocabulary in an interesting and engaging way:
- Our 11+ Experts focus on exposing your child to all genres of extracts, so they are well-prepared to face unseen texts in the 11+ English Exams
- We ensure that our 11+ Reading List provides a motivating challenge to your child
- Our texts are 11+ Exam-style, but at the same time fun and exciting to read
Reading to Improve 11+ Comprehension Skills
Comprehension is the capability to understand a text. It’s the pivotal link to effective reading – essential for a rich academic and professional life.
Reading comprehension involves several different processes, such as:
- imagining what the words describe,
- understanding the context of the book
- being able to answer questions related to a text.
All these skills are essential to the eleven plus. Think about a book you’ve read before, and then try to summarise what the book was about.
If your child can answer questions about a book or text, explain important events that happened in a story and have an opinion about why the events may have occurred, they’re displaying comprehension skills.
Not only that, but in the eleven plus exam they will also need to be able to read the questions carefully, answer fully and clearly, and use the text to support their answers. No wonder it can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially when doing all this in timed exam conditions
11+ Reading Club uses a variety of texts to ensure that students get experience using comprehension skills in a mixture of contexts. All the texts are carefully selected to ensure that students can get all the benefits of comprehension skills.
Reading to Improve 11 Plus Vocabulary
It’s no secret that reading increases your vocabulary and improves your spelling, but did you know that reading increases your vocabulary more than talking or direct teaching? Reading forces us to look at words that we might not have seen or heard recently at the pub.
In fact, language in children’s books is likely to be more sophisticated than your average conversation.
What does this do to benefit students? Well, after several days of reading and looking up new words you don’t understand, your vocabulary will begin to expand one word at a time.
Words and phrases, when reading every day, fill your brain with a new vocabulary that you might never have learned without reading.
The vocabulary used on Verbal Reasoning papers tends to be very old-fashioned. As many of the authors writing practice papers are also teachers who will have seen the real test papers, they will use vocabulary that is as close as possible to the standard of the real tests.
So, it is important to use reading materials from different eras. This is another significant benefit of courses like the 11+ Reading Club, that offer lots of different texts.
The eleven plus demands a great vocabulary if applicants are going to do well. It is incredible how much vocabulary students can take in while reading, rather than direct instruction.
Improving Creative Thinking
Reading is one of the best ways to encourage imagination for eleven plus students.
- The more we read, the better we can build up and expand our knowledge.
- We can be open to new ideas and understand new things.
- Reading helps us practice imagination by letting the words describe a certain image while the reader manipulates the picture in the mind.
Our brains need to be kept active in order to stay healthy and reading is a great exercise for the mind. The more you read, the better you concentrate and the better you will be able to imagine ideas and new concepts.
When it comes to creative thinking, focus is key, and reading has been proven to help eleven plus students focus and learn innovation at the same time.
You can even use these strategies as a parent to get the most out of reading sessions:
- Ask the right questions – Sit down and talk to your child about books you’ve read together. Ask questions that prompt higher-order thinking (e.g. ‘Why do you think…?’, ‘Why was it better than…?’), rather than knowledge-based questions (e.g. What is…?, How is…?, Where is…?)
- Encourage creative and opinionated discussion – Make it a daily habit to talk about books and reading. Prompt critical and creative thinking by offering your own opinion and ideas, followed by questions such as, ‘Do you agree with the actions?’, ‘What would happen in…?’, or ‘What would you suggest…?’
- Brainstorm solutions to problems and dilemmas – Higher-order thinking involves the ability to apply knowledge in order to solve problems. Inspire your child to point out specific problems that a character is facing in a book and suggest solutions. A good idea is to brainstorm possible solutions on a large sheet of paper before finishing the rest of the book.
All three are important to eleven plus mastery, so don’t skimp out on post-reading discussions with your child!
Improving 11+ Creative Writing
Creative writing can be tough for many students – but sometimes reading, rather than just practising writing is the key to building confidence. Children need to see examples of great writing to build their own.
The more they read, and the more widely the genres they read, the more interesting their own writing becomes. Think of it like anything in life – if you don’t see a good example, how are you ever going to build your own?
Studying a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts has been proven to help students:
- Overcome a lack of confidence when it comes to creating interesting characters and situations
- Get inspired by including their own favourite fictional characters and universes in their writing
- Building better story structure by studying the plots of great novels and seeing how they work
Child stressed about creative writing for the eleven plus? Try getting them to read the latest children’s bestseller – sitting and going through the text with your child can lead to great leaps in their creativity.
As much as reading is important for verbal reasoning, it's also core to great writing. In short, great writers are great readers, and your child should be no exception
Getting some students reading can be a tall order, but the benefits for the eleven plus and beyond, can be huge. At the 11+ Reading club, we aim to deliver:
- Guided reading two times a week
- An in-depth reading of various genres of literature
- Techniques for selecting key vocabulary from unseen texts
- Creating an extensive 11+ Vocabulary Bank
- Enhanced critical thinking and creative writing skills
This reading club is designed for students who are currently in Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 and preparing for the 11+ Exams. There are only a few seats remaining, so please book as soon as possible to guarantee a place.