English Language & the transition from Primary 4 to Primary 5

Right about now, the stress of the final year exams are dissipating and everyone is ready for the school break! It is also about the time exam papers and mark scores are returned. Some students are jumping around gleefully while others may be disappointed. So what do we do with the marks that we have received?

This is the only grade jump in Primary English where I warn all parents to be cautious..even if the student has scored well or he needs more help. I have had many a phone conversation with parents who could not understand why their children had scored 80+ for P4 but are only coming home with a 60+ in P5.

The components for the Primary 5 Paper 2 can be a huge leap for some students, especially in Booklet B. The rules for Synthesis & Transformation are numerous and complex and the ability to spot contextual clues in the Cloze section requires regular practice. Aside from the increase in the number of questions for Comprehension OE, the complexity of the reading passage and the know how to answer inferential questions can be challenging.

So, aside from enjoying the school holiday as much as possible (!), here are some ways that we can prepare in English for the P5 2016 year.


1) Familiarise yourself with the new components

This is true for Booklet B of Paper 2. If you are already planning to do some work at home during the holidays with your child, ditch the P4 books and get some P5 ones (following the new format English of course). You can select those with individual components, example: Synthesis & Transformation books that have both the rules and practices as well as Cloze passage books (example:Teachers @ Work series) that have Grammar cloze, Vocabulary Cloze and Comprehension Cloze passages. Or those that contain the whole Paper 2 (example: Mages Primary 5 English).

2) Breakdown of SA2 scores

This is the time to note down how your child scored in each of the components tested: Oral, Writing, Paper 2 & even Listening Comprehension
In Paper 2, note the strengths and weaknesses of your child. Is he strong in Vocabulary but needs a better grasp of Grammar rules? The holidays is a great time to review the endless grammar rules

3) Writing

Situational Writing (SW) is another new component in P5. The total score is 15 marks and to me, it is one of the components that my student should aim to have a full score. With the slight changes in marking following the new change in format in English, students need to know what to look out for when writing. Surprisingly, students who may write beautiful descriptive compositions can find it difficult to phrase their points in a concise sentence for both Formal and Informal writing. How to start (Purpose) and end as well as tone of voice (Audience) and points (Context) play a part in the total score.

If your child has issues structuring his sentences properly and needs help in organising his thoughts, SW is one component which he may struggle with for Writing.

This is also a good time to take a look at the marks given for your child’s composition. The marking scheme in P5 will be out of 40 marks. Thus, if your child’s composition is peppered with grammatical mistakes and sentence structuring, this is a good time to review his grammatical rules.

If the loss of marks is more for the Content- story isn’t developed, lacking descriptive phrases- the holidays can be a good time to kick start the reading habit or find a writing workshop that he can attend. Look out for Model Compositions, written by other students (I have some on my blog) that he can read and highlight the different ways to describe different scenarios.

Keep a lookout for some Model Compositions that I will posting on my blog during the school holidays & have a good break!