How to Help Your Primary School Student Write a Narrative

How to Help Your Primary School Student Write a Narrative

Most of the parents who reach out to me are often exasperated by the daunting task of helping their child through the English homework as they progress from primary school to high school. 

Writing narratives can often be one of the pain points that leads to parental-child conflict and arguments over the dinner table. 

Narratives are an important part of the English syllabus right from the early foundational years all the way through to the year 12 exams. 

Why Are Stories Important?

Stories are important for our children to be able to tell because as they become adults, they will need to communicate complex ideas often in simple ways and for different audiences. 

The process of having to plan, drafting and editing a narrative will help your child to become a lifelong storyteller and achieve communication success. 

So how do you help your child write a narrative? 

Step One – Decide on a Setting

Setting can often be difficult as it is difficult for students to come up with concepts that they cannot see. One way to help your child find a setting for their story is to do some Google searching of different types of settings. You can google cities, jungles, different landmarks and different types of places they could use to establish their story. But the most important thing is that you provide your child with a visual to help them understand where their story takes place 

Step Two – Decide on a Character 

There is always the protagonist in every story that your child will write and it is important that you help your child to craft that protagonist. Try and get them to extend beyond writing themselves as the protagonist. Perhaps ask them to think about if their grandpa and grandma could be the protagonist or if one of their friends could be the protagonist. This will help to avoid cliches and will allow the student to show that they can put themselves in unfamiliar situations and write about them. 

Step Three – Setting One Hour, One Day, One Setting

As you approach the story writing phase, you need to clarify with your child that the story should take place over one day, one hour or one setting. Oftentimes, students will create elaborate texts that take place over days, months or even years. This leads to poorly written stories that jump from place to place. Now when you change your focus to one hour, one day or one setting will help them to think about the parts of the date for the parts of the settings that are actually important to describe.

Step Four – Plot Structure

Have your child map out the four main steps of the plot seen below. Start with the resolution and then go back to the start so that your child understands where they need to take the story. 

Step Five – Narrative Devices

Narrative devices are the elements that make a story great. These include things like imagery, narrative point of view, figurative language description, emotion, dialogue and a whole suite of others that can be found elsewhere on the website. Making a list and having an understanding of how to use these can make a story more robust and more descriptive for the teacher. 

Step Six – Writing the Story 

For your narrative, I would recommend starting with a sizzling start. A sizzling start is a description of either action taking place dialogue or a key feature in the scene. For example, you could start with a 4 to 5 sentence description of how the character is tying up his shoelaces. What this does is it creates intrigue and it creates mystery as to what is going to happen next in the story. The biggest mistake the students make if they don’t think about the description in their writing so including a description from the very first sentence can make a big impact. Try and ask the students what the character was wearing or what they were doing or so on.  

Teaching your child to write a narrative can be a big job. Be sure to be gentle with yourself as you were doing the best job possible. For more tips and tricks make sure you sign up to our newsletter.

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

Narrative writing is something that many of my students find particularly difficult because they believe that they do not have a creative person in their body. 

However, creativity is something that doesn’t occur naturally but something that we craft and perfect over time. You will find that some of the best writers in the world often have the same self-doubt that you do when you’re writing a narrative text. The good thing about this situation though is that they have time to research ruminate and consider elements of the plot structure. 

You, however, have one hour to complete this, which can be particularly difficult. The first thing that you must do when you are writing a story is to consider brainstorm. The brainstorm is a very important part of story writing particularly when you receive a prompt that you need to respond to. When you look at the image or the phrase write down the first words that jump into your mind and do that process for a few minutes or 30 seconds so that you can work through all the ideas that you have in your head. 

What you must then do is follow a very precise process that will be laid out here. 

1. Planning.

Planning is the most important part of your story writing and most people miss this part because they believe it takes too much time to plan. However, by creating a story arc you will be able to tell where you were going to take the first part of your exposition right through the rising action through to the climax, the falling action and then the resolution. Down below you will find a typical plan for a story that you should follow every time you start writing. 

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam Narrative

2. Choosing a Narrator. 

The second most important decision that you need to make when you are starting to write a story is to decide who will tell the story. The author is the person who writes the story and the narrator is the person who will tell the story. You are the author who is the narrator. You can either tell the story or you can either have a first-person narrator who says “I, we, our, us” or a third-person narrator who says “he, she, they”.

3. Tense

Choosing the tense in which you write your story is fundamentally important for the story itself and one of the biggest mistakes that students make when they are writing a story is that they change between tenses. If you start your story with “I jumped, I ran, I flew” then you cannot switch to “I run, I jump, I fly”. Make sure you stick to your tense. 

4. Keep it short. 

When you only have one hour to write a narrative please do not attempt to write a narrative that takes place over days, weeks, months or even years. Your story should take place over one hour, one day or one set in order to make sure that you can address each of the parts of the text in detail. When you are planning your story ensure that the point of climax happens within that same setting day or hour. 

For more help on how to write a narrative, contact Perth English Tutor. 

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Persuasive

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Persuasive

When it comes to the last section of your ATAR English exam, there can be some confusion as to what you are actually required to do. This section of the exam is testing your ability to receive a prompt and respond to that prompt in a creative way. 

There are many options of creative texts that you can craft in this section but essentially they are broken down into three subsections. These are interpretive, imaginative and persuasive. Most teachers now will teach you how to write a narrative response in response to these exam questions, however, you must be aware that you have more options than just to write a narrative. 

One strong way to answer this series of questions is through persuasive. Persuasive essay writing involves taking an opinion on the topic and writing a series of body paragraphs in response to the prompt. Persuasive writing will begin for you in year 3 or year 5 when you were required to do your NAPLAN test. Many of these ideas that you would’ve learnt at a young age should come back and be a part of your learning again as you reach ATAR. 

The best thing to do is actually pre-prepare some topics or problems that you are ready to write at a moment’s notice. Here at our top tips for success in writing a persuasive essay for your ATAR exams. 

1. Ensure That You Have a Variety of Ideas to Discuss. 

When it comes to the composing section of your exam, many students believe that there is no way they can study. This is unequivocally wrong. Being aware of three or four major topics in society and different ideas around those topics will help you actually have something to say. My past students have written about topics from diabetes to euthanasia to racism to bullying to anything else you could possibly write an essay about. The key is to have three or four different ideas that you could go to. The way to decide on these ideas is to brainstorm some of the key issues and topics that interest you and maybe have a look at your other subjects for ideas. Are you a history buff? Perhaps have a look at the efficacy of communism compared to capitalism and you could write or craft an interpretive response to the idea of communism. If you are interested in the sciences perhaps you could write about vaccinations or infectious disease control. There are many different topics that you could write about but the most important thing is to write about something that interests you, otherwise, you’ll find it difficult to maintain steam as the year progresses. 

2. Pre-Plan Your Answers and Try and Apply Them to Past Questions. 

There are often themes that emerge when you look at different exams over the past 5 to 10 years in English. Things like technology, issues that affect teenagers and issues that affect our society are often cited in the composing section of the exam. Choose three topics that you are interested in and research all of the negatives of these issues, the consequences of these issues and the solutions to these issues and try to apply them to the prompts from past English exams. 

3. Focus on Your Integration of Persuasive Devices. 

Persuasive devices are those handy little things that help us to understand that the text that you have written is persuasive. These include things such as inclusive language, rhetorical questions, facts and statistics, anecdotal evidence, personal voice, figurative language, emotive language and other elements that you are probably a custom to interpreting in your comprehending section. Please make an effort to remember these and then incorporate them into your text. Markers love to see when students have actually thought through the persuasive elements and try to make an effort to use them cohesively within the peace. A personal favourite of mine is inclusive language when you were talking about issues that affect the whole of society. Ensure that you include at least three of them in each body paragraph. 

For more information on how to write and then suasive text for your ATAR English exam, contact Perth English Tutor today.

How to Prepare for IELTS Exam?

How to Prepare for IELTS exam

The name ‘IELTS’ scares many students whose aspirations are to land a dream job or study in a foreign land. To get a great score in IELTS, one needs to put in a lot of hard work if not smart work. You need a strategy if you are preparing for something new, be it an exam or something else.

Here are 5 simple tips on how to Prepare for the IELTS exam.

1. Power of a Practise Exam

The best way to start IELTS preparation is to take a practice exam and assess where you are. There are a number of websites that offer free practise tests but we suggest you take the test from the British council website. When you take the test, do it in the exam standards.

Take the listening and reading test as well, check the score and make a note on where you should improve. Make sure you take these exams with a timer. It is better to practise speaking and listening with a teacher or a friend so that you get proper feedback.

2. Daily Goal

Studying consistently every day is the key to crack IELTS. Draft a daily study plan and follow it. Make sure you study at least 2 hours per day, spend equal time on speaking, writing and listening. If not, analyse where you are weak and spend more time on that.

You can download an app to track your time or a daily planner template from google to check your progress.

3. English is the Key

Whether you are a native speaker or not, you have to improve your English, this is an exam to check your English skills after all. First thing you should do to improve the language is to think in this language, and also speak in English with your friends, family and others. Bluntly put, use English in your daily life as much as possible.

There are other effective ways to boost your English skills, listen to podcasts, read newspapers daily, listen to people with a native accent talking in shows or movies and lastly, find a teacher who can guide you with the language’s intricacies.

4. Choose Study Materials Wisely

There are many resources available on the internet, some are good but most resources aren’t reliable. Those who prepare IELTS for the first time will feel overwhelmed by the tips, study plans and materials available. Always go for authentic sources, Cambridge website or the British Council provides you past exam papers with answer keys. Practise it.

English Collocations in Use, English Vocabulary in Use, The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS are some useful books published by Cambridge.

5. Focus on Writing

Each section is equally important to crack IELTS, however, a low score in writing can seriously affect your band score. Not that only, compared to writing, listening and reading takes a lot of time to master it.

Either it’s task 1 or task 2 writing in the IELTS exam, your vocabulary must be improved. Learn new words, collocations and it’s better to use phrases in your answers.

You will easily miss noticing grammar errors and other mistakes in your writing. That’s why it is wise to get a teacher. You need someone to give you constant feedback throughout the process.

Conclusion

Yes, IELTS is a very difficult exam to crack but it’s not impossible. Any exam can be cracked easily, just keep practising. Take as many as mock tests as possible. Do not panic, give your best shot. Good Luck.

To know more about IELTS exam and tutoring, click here

Share these useful tips to students who are preparing for their IELTS exam.

WHAT IS THE STAT TEST?

What is the stat test?

The STAT test is also known as the Special Tertiary Admissions Test, which allows universities to assess whether you are capable of attending and succeeding at university.

The test is suitable for people such as the following: 

  1. Mature-age applicants who don’t have a recent or standard Year 12 qualification
  2. Applicants who completed their previous studies outside Australia
  3. Applicants who did not gain a satisfactory ATAR (for certain courses and universities)

The STAT test is your typical aptitude test that evaluates verbal and quantitative reasoning. Specific curriculum knowledge is not required to be able to pass. In other words, you cannot study “content” for the test, just concepts. 

There are two different STAT tests that you will be required to complete:

  1. STAT Multiple Choice test
  2. STAT Written English test

DO ALL UNIVERSITIES ACCEPT STAT RESULTS?

Requirements vary from state to state within Australia. Individual institutions set their own admission requirements. You will need to refer to the university of choice. 

AM I ELIGIBLE TO SIT THE STAT TEST?

Candidates should check with the institution to which they are applying to assess whether you are eligible as a stat student. As a general rule, an applicant must be 18 years or over by a certain date in the year of admissions to use STAT results in their application but there may be extenuating circumstances.

WHICH TEST(S) DO I SIT?

Refer to the current university course guide to see what the admission requirements are for that particular university. They are the only people that can advise if they will accept STAT results and which test(s) are required (eg Multiple Choice only or Multiple Choice and Written English).

HOW MANY TIMES CAN I SIT STAT?

Candidates may only sit the STAT test once per test cycle. This runs from 15 April to 14 April of the following year. 

WHAT IS THE WRITTEN PART OF THE EXAM?

The STAT Written English requires written responses to two themes. Four comments (prompts) will be given for the students to respond to. 

The test will offer the following directions to candidates:

DIRECTIONS

  • There are two parts to this test, and four comments are offered for each part. You are required to produce two pieces of writing − one in response to a comment from Part A, and one in response to a comment from Part B.
  • Part A is a more formal public affairs issue that invites argument. Part B is a less formal topic that invites more personal reflection.
  • One hour is allocated for this test, with an additional five minutes reading time.
  • Your responses to the essay comments are written directly on the test paper. You should write your essays neatly and legibly in pen.
  • Circle the comment you are responding to. Do not try to address all of the other comments
  • Give each piece of writing a title that will help orient a reader to the approach you are taking.

The following themes and comments indicate the kind of stimulus material that will be offered in this test

PRACTICE QUESTIONS

PART A

  1. Technology has a destablising effect on humans and should be used with caution.
  2. Technology presents humanity with the greatest opportunity ever known to man. 
  3. Too much of technological advancement is focused on greed rather than on good. 
  4. If we can provide all of humanity with the tools and technology, we will be able to solve the world’s biggest problems. 

PART B

  1. Family is the most important part of our lives because it gives us our grounding and stability in life.
  2. Individuals should be able to decide whether they spend time with their family or take their personal space. 
  3. It is important to make our own space in the world rather than fall into the same patterns as our family. 
  4. Having boundaries in our life is the most important thing we can do for our mental health. 

The Transition From Year 6 to Year 7

The Transition From Year 6 to Year 7

Waking up on the first day of year seven can be a very daunting experience. There are many different challenges the young people face in high school nowadays including but not limited to cyber bullying, issues with resilience, anxiety and depression and myriad others.

Many of your child’s subjects will change and adapt from a primary school curriculum to high school curriculum. The English curriculum in the transition from primary school to high school changes, however many of those foundational skills will still be tested. Students must be able to use grammar, punctuation, spelling, diction, syntax and many of the other language devices that make our writing soar.

When you are looking at helping your child transition from Year 6 to Year seven and studying English there are a few things that you need to know.

1. Find Your Reading Mojo

There is nothing worse than coming to school on the first day of year seven and not knowing what is going on. Usually your school will give you your booklist in advance of going into year seven and all of the required reading will be on that booklist. This gives your child a chance to get a head start on any of the reading that they will need to do during the year. If not, there are plenty of other options available to students but the most important thing is that they start reading as soon as possible.

Reading is the one skill that you can’t just pick up in your 11 and be really, really good at it. Many of my students wish that they had started reading earlier and many of my parents just don’t know how to make their child read. The biggest thing about choosing a book in the transition from year 6 to 7 is helping your child choose coming-of-age stories to help them navigate this difficult period in their lives. 

2. Learn Your Grammar and Punctuation

There is nothing that a high school teacher dislikes more and students who do not have the basic grasp of English grammar and punctuation. Over the term break, have your child do some simple activities on commas, possessive, apostrophes, contractions, plurals and capital letters and how to structure a good sentence.

There are many sites online that give simple activities for year six year seven level that should be suited to your child. 

3. Get Out There and Have Some Experiences

Having options and activities outside of school work actually helps your child to learn to plan their day and find other experiences to talk about when they are doing. English requires a lot of creative writing in year 7 to year 12 and when they don’t have fulfilling experiences outside of the classroom it can become difficult to imagine what they should write about in their stories in their feature articles and memoirs.

One thing you can do is make an effort to sit down with your family every Friday night and watch a film together and discuss the plot and ask them some simple questions after watching the film to encourage your child to think about how films are structured and how narratives are structured this will help come up with fantastic ideas when they are then in their classroom and having to think about a story.

Some other things you can do is send them to drama lessons, coding camp or other classes during the holidays that will give them fresh experiences of the world and allow them to flex their creativity. Finally, a free way to do this is to get out and experience nature – go down to the beach and describe what you say, go into the hills and describe all the nature that’s around you. There are things all around us in our lives and we have to help children open their eyes to the different experiences.

How to choose subjects for Year 11 and 12 ATAR?

It’s the middle of the year (or you are getting a head start) and you have been given your subject selection form for Year 11. It can be difficult to choose – or help your child with the choice – which subjects to use for Year 11.

If your child is preparing to enter their final years of school, it is important that you have answers for some the most common questions about Year 11 and 12 subject selection.

Q: Which subjects are compulsory in Year 11 and 12 for students in Western Australia?

To achieve the minimum requirements for students to receive a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2021 and beyond, you must do the following.

Breadth and depth requirement

  • Completion of a minimum of 20 units, which may include unit equivalents attained through VET and/or endorsed programs. This requirement must include at least: (Explanatory notes 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5)
    • a minimum of ten Year 12 units, or the equivalent
    • four units from an English learning area course, post-Year 10, including at least one pair of Year 12 units from an English learning area course
    • one pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).

Achievement standard requirement

  • Achievement of at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent) in Year 11 and 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units. 
  • Completion of:
    • at least four Year 12 ATAR courses (Explanatory note 5), or
    • at least five Year 12 General courses(Explanatory note 7) (or a combination of General and up to three Year 12 ATAR courses(Explanatory note 5)) or equivalent(Explanatory note 8), or
    • a Certificate II (or higher) VET qualification(Explanatory notes 9 and 10) in combination with ATAR, General or Foundation courses).

Literacy and numeracy standard

  • Demonstration of the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. (Explanatory notes 11 and 12)

To view explanatory notes, check here.

Some independent and Catholic schools list religious education as a compulsory subject, but you may be able to choose whether you do these as ATAR or general. Students can choose the remainder of their study load as they wish, although schools may also place pre-requisites on certain studies. For example, you might need to achieve a minimum of 60% in a certain subject in Year 10 to be able to do the subject in Year 11.   

Q: Are there any prerequisites for university courses?

A: University courses usually list English as a prerequisite. There are also a number of specialists courses that might have prerequisites or desirables. If your child plans to apply for university, they will need to make sure they are eligible to receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and complete the required prerequisites. The best place to find this is on the Course Guides for the course that your child want to complete.

Q: How will scaling and moderation affect my child?

A lot of schools will quote “scaling” as a reason to do or not to do a subject. This is an important consideration to make. More details about TISC mark grading, you can click here. However, if your child is above average or thoroughly enjoys a certain subject, it is advisable to do that subject as your child will enjoy Year 11 and Year 12, rather than seeing the two years of study as a chore.

Q: What if my child doesn’t know what they want to do with their lives?

A: In this case, I would advise that your child does a broad range of subjects in Year 11 and Year 12, with as many ATAR subjects as they can manage. Depending on what they like, they will be able to determine which field of study they are better suited for. For example, if you enjoy Economics or Politics and Law, you might consider a Business or International Relations course. If you enjoy Human Biology, perhaps something in the health field?

Q: What if my child changes their mind between Year 11 and Year 12?

A: There are so many different factors that will affect a student in Year 11 and Year 12. Don’t panic if your child wants to drop a subject – this is totally normal. Delve to the bottom of why they want to swap and what their options are. They may be able to pick up another subject, or they may be able to complete a Certificate in lieu of another ATAR subject. Discuss these options with your school guidance counsellor.

What is an alternative reading?

What is an alternative reading?

In your study, you may have come across different reading practices or the phrase “alternative reading”.

This is a topic that is rarely covered in detail in class, but can be the difference between an average essay and an amazing essay.

SCSA WA defines reading and readings as the below:

Reading

The process of making meaning of text. This process draws on a repertoire of social, cultural and cognitive resources. Reading occurs in different ways, for different purposes, in a variety of public and domestic settings. Reading is therefore a cultural, economic, ideological, political and psychological act. The term applies to the act of reading print texts or the act of viewing a film or static image.

Readings

Readings are particular interpretations of a text. The classification of readings into alternative, resistant or dominant is quite arbitrary, depending on the ideology held by the reader. Alternative readings: readings that focus on the gaps and silences in texts to create meanings that vary from those meanings that seem to be foregrounded by the text. Dominant reading: is the reading that seems to be, for the majority of people in society, the natural or normal way to interpret a text. In a society where there are strongly competing discourses (i.e. most societies), the definition of what is a dominant reading depends on the ideology of the person making the decision. Resistant reading: a way of reading or making meaning from a text which challenges or questions the assumptions underlying the text. Resistant readings employ a discourse different from the discourse that produces the dominant reading

Source: SCSA WA

In simple terms, a reading is the way or the lens through which we interpret a certain text, be that novel, film, short story and everything in between.

Every text that you read can have multiple interpretations, depending on the reading you take. Many exams have used the term “readings” or “reading” in the responding section. Therefore, it’s wise for you to know how to conduct readings and write essays on readings.HD wallpaper: harry potter, warts, castle, magic, british, wand ...

Let’s take Harry Potter, for example.

A dominant reading of Harry Potter allows readers to understand that Harry is the traditional fantasy hero that saves the day. However, a resistant reading could be that minor characters are more fundamental to the plot line that J K Rowling intended, namely Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. A gendered reading of Harry Potter could reveal that women should be values for their intelligence rather than for their beauty, as an indictment of society’s values. This has been demonstrated through the characters of Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood and Cho Cheng. All three female characters are appreciated for their book and street smarts, as well as their abilities to do spells. This is a very simplistic demonstration of alternative readings designed to show you the basics.

Depending on the text you have studied, type into Google <text name> + alternative reading and see what comes up! This will help you plan an essay on a dominant, resistant or alternative reading of your text for the purpose of an essay.

For more information on how to do “readings”, book your first session with Perth English Tutor.