“My Child Hates English!” How To Encourage Your Child To Enjoy Literacy at Primary Level and Beyond

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“Hands up if you love Maths.” 

I stood silently watching a flood of hands leap into the air. 

There was only one hand that refused to go up and that was from the only student in the class who found escapism in writing stories that were pages long. 

Every other hand signalled that Maths was the subject of choice. 

My heart sank for a moment as I realised that so few children love English the way I do. 

Growing up, books provided me with an entrance into another universe. The chance to escape from life’s hustle and bustle and enter into a new realm. 

Reading provided me with happiness, warmth, comfort and so much more.

How could these children not find English to be the most fascinating subject? 

Why didn’t they have any enthusiasm for it? 

During a conversation with Dr Weston, she shared an insight that made me realise why so many children lack interest in literacy. She said something along the lines of:

 ”Parents often don’t know how to create an environment of literacy in the home.”

Her statement made perfect sense. 

Perhaps the reason why so many children love Maths is because their parents create a mathematical environment in the home or an environment that fosters a passion for learning the subject.  

In comparison, so few parents know how to create an environment that encourages a passion for English. Some aren’t passionate about the subject themselves whilst others simply don’t have the know-how to teach it at home.

I can completely understand why it might be difficult for parents to encourage their child to enjoy learning English especially if everyone at home is a Maths whizz.

So how can you create and foster an environment of literacy in the home? 

Here are three things you can do. 

1. Read with your child at night.

Bedtime stories are one of the most magical parts of childhood. They create memories that last a lifetime. However, in this busy age it’s easy for parents to dismiss them and to simply encourage their children to read themselves to sleep. Instead of telling your child to read alone, take 15 minutes each night to read to them or listen to them read.

Whenever they spot a word they don’t know, explain the meaning of it to them.  Bedtime reading is a great way to enhance your bond with your child whilst also encouraging them to enjoy reading and benefit from it.

 

2. Have Table Topics.

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I remember coming across a company a few years ago that specialised in table topic cards for families. The idea was to encourage families to eat together and discuss important topics such as global warming, politics and the arts. Nowadays, so few families sit together to eat and when they do each family member is glued to their phone refusing to interact with the other.

When a child sees lack of interaction in the home as the norm they begin to feel as if it’s okay to not talk to people and avoid communication. If your household is filled with phone addicts it’s time to make some changes and create a dinner time that is filled with conversation and engagement. The benefit of this is that it will stimulate your child’s mind and encourage them to think openly, listen to the opinions of others and assert themselves. These are the very skills that are needed for literacy especially with regards to discursive and persuasive writing skills, 

3. Invest in Books. 

Growing up my Dad had the wonderful habit of bringing home books on an almost daily basis. Even when he didn’t have a penny to his name he would go to a library to borrow books or head to Oxfam and pick up wonderful books for us to read. Watching him leap through the door with a handful of books is one of the fondest memories I have of childhood. You see, investing in books doesn’t have to be expensive. There are so many libraries where you can borrow books from as well as some brilliant charity shops that sell books for as little as a few pence.

I still walk into charity shops to browse the book section from time to time and am usually amazed by the variety of books available. One thing I’ve noticed is that children who are brilliant readers and writers are often surrounded by books at home and their parents are happy to invest in them.

If you want your child to develop an interest in English then put some effort into buying them high quality reading books. They don’t have to be expensive and quite often the classic books are the cheapest.

Now it’s your turn, follow the three steps above and then leave a comment below sharing one thing you learnt from this post.

Here’s to a happy 2018!

 The Tutoress Team

Boys will be boys: how to encourage your son to focus at school

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“My son hates studying, he’s the opposite of his sister.”

“Why on earth does my son hate reading so much?”

“Honestly, boys are so much harder than girls.”

These are some of the most common complaints I hear from parents who are struggling to understand why their son isn’t the academic ange  l that they’d hoped for.

The truth is that boys and girls are different. We live in a world that doesn’t always acknowledge these differences and sometimes tries to blur them. However, there’s no hiding it. Boys and girls are not the same. They think differently, they behave differently and they learn differently.

Therefore, the way you should teach your son is vastly different from the way you should teach your daughter.

Their minds, thoughts and actions are not the same so how can their learning styles be?

Instead of expecting your son to magically behave and learn in the way you want him to, it’s better to be a bit more open-minded and try something new.

Here are three effective ways to help your son become a better learner.

Acknowledge and leverage his differences

If your son isn’t a readaholic or bookworm, don’t fret. Instead, identify his unique qualities (write them down if it helps) and start creating a plan for how these qualities can actually work in his favour. For instance, if he hates reading, is obsessed with football, and you’re longing for him to improve his reading and comprehension skills, why not look up some football or sports inspired books and see if he’ll read them? Chances are, he will. Instead of throwing a pile of Charles Dickens books at a football-loving child, give him material that he might actually enjoy. Autobiographies are great for this.

Support His Talents

I see so many students who are wonderful at sports, music or other extra curricular activities and their parents often ignore their accomplishments in these areas because they’re focused on their child’s academic progression. If you want your son to show more enthusiasm towards his academic studies, it’s vital to support his extra-curricular achievements as well. By doing so you’re sending your child the message that you want him to be a well-rounded individual who possesses strong academic and social skills.

Spend Time With Him

Many parents wonder why their child hates studying or going to school but few have actually spent enough time investigating why this is. If your child absolutely despises studying, there might be an underlying reason for this. Do they find lessons at school boring? What makes it boring? Is your son an auditory learner but is being taught visually? Is your son being bullied or teased by classmates which results in him not wanting to contribute or focus on class? Spend some time finding out exactly what’s stopping your child from enjoying their learning and see if there’s a way to help ignite their passion for learning.

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below sharing one thing you’ll do to help your son to be more focused and passionate about his learning.

Here’s to your child’s success.

The Tutoress Team.

Why Parents Need To Focus On Raising Remarkable Children

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 Recently, a number of parents texted me to let me know that their child had passed their 11+ grammar school exam.

As always, I was incredibly elated and felt so proud of their children. 

Hearing from these parents instantly took me down memory lane and I began to ponder about all of the children I’ve taught and the differences (and similarities) in the way their parents had raised them. 

As I thought about these things, I realised there was one common thread between all of these amazing families. 

All of these parents, regardless of income, race, nationality or creed, endeavoured to do things differently.

They didn’t just focus on raising smart children or creating the next Einstein. Rather, they focused on encouraging their child to be remarkable in every area of life.

This common trait of raising remarkable children struck a chord with me and I realised that it was the one thing that many parents miss out on. 

Nowadays, life is so competitive that in order for children to excel, they can’t just be good or average, they need to be remarkable.

So, as a parent, how do you go about making your child remarkable and what does that involve? 

I’ll share advice directly from these parents in an upcoming blog post but for now, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts.

One of the most important factors in raising remarkable children is to fuel their existing talents and gifts. Parents can do this through a mix of positive parenting and gentle but firm discipline. Nonetheless, the greatest influence on remarkability is simply spending quality time with your child.

I see so many parents who hand their child off to nannies and au pairs because they simply don’t want to deal with them. Sometimes it’s because they’re too busy or they have plenty of other things to do. However, my observation over the years has been that parents who spend quality time with their child raise the most incredible children.

I feel so passionately about this topic that I’m making a commitment to speak to remarkable parents and encourage them to share their advice. 

Stay tuned for my next few blog posts where I’ll be talking about this in more detail. 

The Tutoress Team

The One Thing That's Stopping Your Child From Passing Their 10+ or 11+ Interview

   

 

 

Summer is almost over and here at The Tutoress, we're shedding a few tears because we just finished our amazing 11+ summer course. It's certainly a bittersweet time for us. 

During the course we always cover interview practice, namely how to pass the 11+ interview and what to do to stop yourself from being a nervous wreck. You see, even the brightest of children find interview preparation hard.

In fact, I'll be bold and say that smarter children tend to underperform in the interview. 

Why? 

Well, there are several reasons which I'll go into in another article. 

But for now, I want to focus on one of the most important reasons why children fail their 10+ and 11+ interviews. 

The importance of this dawned on me during the summer course when two of our brightest pupils admitted that they'd passed their 10+ exam but didn't do well enough in the interview section to be awarded a place at one of London's most competitive schools for boys. 

So what did they do wrong?  

They didn't elaborate.  

What do I mean by that? 

They gave short, blunt and overly concise answers which might not sound like a bad thing but when an interviewer wants to get to know you, expanding your answers is vital. 

You cannot give one word answers and expect to impress someone who is interviewing hundreds of children. You just can't. 

Now, this isn't to say that you should ramble, it's simply that you should give answers that show enthusiasm and character.

For example, a commonly asked starter question is "what's your name?" 

A child might think that replying "Jo" is fine but it can come across as being a bit blunt and cold. So instead, my tutors and I coach our students to respond with someone that shows warmth and character such as:

"My name is Jo and it's a pleasure to meet you sir." 

By simply elaborating the child has now shown warmth, friendliness and excellent manners.

This is just one example of the many things that students get wrong when answering interview questions. 

I absolutely love teaching interview skills so I could ramble on about this topic all day. 

For now, take a few moments today to explain how important elaboration is to your child and get them to practice answering simple starter questions. 

I'all share some more of my best tips very soon so stay tuned.

Victoria. 

Founder, TheTutoress.com