Right at P1, I have taught both children on how to annotate. From MCQ, Comprehension Cloze and Comprehension. So it is already a norm when comes to annotate. Annotate is important to my children, as it helps to slow them down when comes to reading too fast, help to shift in the message or perspective of the text, focusing on the key area. Basically I want to train them to read in between the line. This is important when it comes to comprehension cloze and comprehension. Particularly useful when comes to secondary school.
Reading helps in building vocab but is a slow way to gain vocabulary (IMO). So sometime when I come across a nice vocab while reading my stuff, I will share with my boys. Boys always keep a small little notebook with new words that they compile and will try to use it in their composition or during conversation. I am surprise that my oldest is still using it. In the small little notebook, also carries some interesting phrases whenever they chance upon during reading.
We read widely. From reader digest, national geographic, newspaper (of course is a must) and story books (mostly biography – sounds boring right).
Reading helps in comprehension cloze. I also noticed that knowledge of the content will help one to anticipate certain words and remember relevant vocabulary. So with that, reading widely and talk about topics with children helps in this aspect. If not, annotate to find the contextual clue is the next best to nothing. For my children, comprehension cloze is easy.
We do not do any assessment book for English at all. ZERO. Because I felt that some of the comprehension in the assessment books are not suitable for PSLE level. We only attempt past year papers. We did so much until to the extent of doing papers all the way to 2008 coz we have nothing else to do already.
PSLE English Comprehension and Comprehension Cloze in general not out to kill the kids. The topic and theme is general enough for the average kids. Unless one’s English is really that bad to the extent of not understanding the passage at all.
Each time my child makes a mistake in the Grammar, Vocab or SIT, I will usually tear out that particular question and compile and paste onto a A4 size papers. This will be their revision notes. (phtthp, sounds familiar? ) Repeated mistake must be dealt with immediately with deeper explanation and coming up with more examples. As times go by, the list of mistakes will be getting smaller and should not be repeatable.
For composition writing in Primary level, my child comes up with his own style of writing. Simple writing with twist and turns, loads of feelings, don’t rush through the climax; build up the climax. A few bombastic words here and there. Don’t keep writing “say, thought, hence, ……”
Oral. Don’t be shy. Speak up. Speak with confidence. Speak eloquently. Speak with diction. DCs speak too much to the extent I need to put a stop. Don’t talk out of point. Children who are shy and doesn’t talk much, I suggest encourage them to talk more. We love to exchange ideas during dinner time, to the extent we do debate during dinner time. I feel this is fun when we exchange our views.
For English (IMO) there is no such thing as certain level can learn this and that. I think is more on maturity and exposure. Explore more, read more, talk more is way to go for grasping languages.