Need Tips for Upper Primary English? Here are 5!
It’s no secret that the work and pressure piles up during the last two years of Primary school. Examinations get harder, teachers demand a higher quality of work, and parents ramp up on the tuition.
All this in the name of the PSLE.
English is one of the four subjects that your child will be taking for the PSLE, and unlike Mathematics or Science, can be notoriously tricky to score. However, tricky is not impossible, and here are some tips you can use to help boost your child’s ability to do well in English.
1) Start with the basics: Read
Read, but unlike when your child was in middle primary, be picky about what your child reads.
As your child’s free time dwindles in comparison with what he or she used to have in lower primary, the time has come to be more selective about what he or she reads. Pick and introduce books with heftier plotlines, and more complicated sentence structures with better vocabulary. Include non-fiction texts and magazines that will help broaden your child’s approach to using English as well.
2) Preparation is key
There are four main components to the English paper and it will be to your child’s benefit to know them well. The four different sections of the paper will test your child’s ability in the subject in different ways, and the way he or she preps for one section will differ from how they prep for another section. For example, studying to write well for Situational Writing would be completely different from say, practising for the Listening Comprehension; as prepping for Oral would be to answering questions for a Comprehension Cloze.
3) Grammar exercises are a must
Ask any linguist, and they will tell you that grammar is the bedrock of any language. Therefore, grammar exercises are essential to doing well and scoring that ‘A’ for your child’s PSLE English paper.
Boring though they are, grammar practices and exercises aren’t something to overlook. Expect them to mix up grammar rules at first, or find the rules daunting when they first start, but know that even a little practise goes a long way. Over time, it should get easier, especially when unfamiliar becomes rote, and before long, your child will be breezing through what may have once been a crutch for him or her.
4) Don’t forget Listening and Oral!
Often overlooked and overshadowed by the English examination heavyweights – Compo and Compre we’re looking at you – the Listening and Oral papers are nonetheless equally important in order to do well in examinations. In recent years, the Listening Comprehension, especially, has gotten a fair bit trickier, containing questions that aren’t quite so well, direct, anymore. For stronger students, this comes across as a rather exciting challenge, and many have claimed this as their favourite of all four papers. That being said, our tip is to encourage all children, regardless of whether they’re strong or not, to have a quick read-through of the questions in the paper first, so they do know what to listen out for when the recording is being played.
Oral on the other hand, is infamously unpopular with many students. It’s hard to blame them, what with the added pressure of an examiner sitting right there, as well as most children’s natural inclination to shy away from interacting with adults at that (still) tender age. Alas, the Oral part of the examinations is something that cannot be avoided, and as intimidating as it may seem, the fact remains that it is a 30-mark paper and like it or not, every child will have to go through it.
Encourage your child to find passages to read aloud to you. He or she doesn’t have to get it perfectly – remember, we’re looking at getting them comfortable and more confident at doing so. Engage them in conversation, and prompt them for their thoughts and opinions – to prepare them for the Stimulus Based Conversation part of the Oral examinations.