I would like to write a little about what parents can do to prepare their children for Secondary school English. As stated in previous posts, the jump from Primary school to Secondary is huge in terms of additional subjects and extra-curricular activities.
This can be overwhelming for the young teens and a subject such as English, which they have been doing all their school life, can be put aside, while they focus on newer ones like History and Geography. If English tuition is not on the agenda then I would advise parents to continue to encourage their children to do practice books at home for several reasons.
There are new components such as Summary Writing and Editing that requires a great deal of practice to be competent at them. Schools do not have the time to get the students to repeatedly practice these components during class time.
Comprehension questions may be shorter and somewhat easier but passages are more complex with a style of writing that students may not understand initially.
Writing may appear similar but the jump from writing like a ‘child’ to writing like a ‘teenager’ takes many months to accomplish! Coming up with vivid, realistic descriptions, conveying emotional empathy for the subject and creating interesting and original scenarios and characters require a great amount of practice. Situational writing requires a student to write a minimum of 250 words, a somewhat daunting task for students who may have already found it torturous to write a short email in Primary 6.
Here is a list of books that I have found useful last year :
1) Lower Secondary Levels English Editing (SAP Education)
2) Focus on Writing (Learners Publishing)
3) English Examination Practice Papers (Educational Publishing House Pte Ltd)