With the impending exam season on the horizon, whether it be SATs, GCSEs or A levels, I often get asked 'how do you revise for English'? Because other subjects lend themselves to recalling dates, facts and terminology, it seems they are easier to revise for. But apply the same logic to a subject, sprinkle it with a little creativity and you should find a way to prepare for this core subject.
Like any other subject, there is still subject specific language required to achieve a good grade. Make up some flashcards with terms on one side and their definitions on the other.
You would want simpler terms such as metaphor, simile, adjective for lower levels and more complex ones such as oxymoron, foreshadowing and onomatopoeia for GCSE.
Test your child or turn it into a game and see if they can get you to guess the terms.
Reading is the best activity to developing your child's literacy skills. It broadens their vocabulary, helps with sentence structure and models good writing for them. Make sure they have a broad range of genres and media. And that means reading news articles, editorials and reviews too.
Don't just stick to Harry Potter, as much as your child may enjoy these, try to broaden their horizons a bit. If you can encourage them to read some classics, that will always help with their comprehension and vocabulary.
When it comes to GCSE exams, pupils are expected to be able to quote from their mind's eye. This can be very tricky baring in mind they have so many other subjects to revise for. But by writing out quotations into a pretty and colourful mind map with plenty of pictures to jog the memory, this could be made a little easier.
The act of writing out the quotations will help with memorising and once they are finished, stick them up on the walls of their bedroom so they subconsciously take everything in. The same goes for younger children; simply replace quotations with the types of sentence structures needed for SATs.
Some of the old classics are always good; Scrabble, Bananagrams and crosswords are great for spelling and broadening vocabulary. And depending on how much screen time you allow at home, there are some great apps and websites with free revision games (topmarks springs to mind).
Rapping or Song Lyrics
Rapping the words to the Shakespeare play that you need to revise, could help those quotations really embed themselves in the brain. It's a bit of fun and certainly beats re-reading the plays over and over. And if you missed it, over on our Facebook community, Emma and I had a go at rapping some bedtime stories. Just for fun! But it shows how anyone can try.
On the theme of music, you could create your own song lyrics to remember certain vocabulary or recall events in a story. Music has long been proven to aid memory, what happens is "pieces of information that we focus on are transformed into electrical impulses that travel between the brain’s neurons through synapses. That means if we repeat something often, we’ll strengthen the bond between neurons and create a memory."* So listening to music, classical is best but any instrumental music is fine, can help those neurons fire!
By Carly Lawrence