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Research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that children who read with their parents every day, or at least once a week, gained significantly higher scores in exams sat at 15 with the highest achieving children still receiving parental support well into their teens.
There was an instinctive understanding among parents that spending time with their children could give them a head start in life, but that this was compromised by ‘ competing demands at work and at home’ and parents feeling they lack ‘some of the skills that would make a difference to their children’s success at school’.
The same pattern was found irrespective of families’ social class, it was revealed. What was important was that parents read books regularly with their children - such as several times a week - and that they talked about what they were reading together.
The findings came as a separate study by the charity Booktime found that 98 per cent of teachers believe children fail to read enough for pleasure in the home.
Reading with parents 'improves children's exams results' (The Telegraph)
Girls' school grapples with grammar
A top London school is staging lessons in grammar for pupils aged 11 to 14 to address concerns over grammar.
Pupils at St Paul’s Girls’ School are being given a dedicated class every fortnight covering a full range of issues such as sentence structure and the use of commas, colons and full-stops. It will also cover confusing words, capital letters and formal and informal speech.
Clarissa Farr, High Mistress of the school, said: ‘There appears to have been a shying away from the teaching of these basic skills, maybe for fear that they are dull or seen as too hard.’
‘Actually, they do not need to be dull. Girls are finding that they can be quite enjoyable and can give them a tremendous sense of achievement.’
The school’s head of English, Dr Jonathan Patrick, suggested that screen-based technology may be damaging children’s writing skills.
‘My friends still laugh at me for using colons and semi-colons in text messages but they are in danger of dying out. We have to accept that this is where young people are using language most frequently – in electronic forms – and therefore maybe the principles need to be restated.’
Bright pupils struggling with basic grammar, says top head (The Telegraph)
Brilliant books and riveting writers
Pirate cats and a naughty schoolboy scoop prize
A rhyming picture book about pirate cats has won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which honours humorous books for children.
Cats Ahoy!, written by Peter Bently and illustrated by Jim Field, was named funniest book for children aged six and under. Liz Pichon's The Brilliant World of Tom Gates won the prize in the 7-14 category.
The prize was set up three years ago by Michael Rosen as part of his children's laureateship, and seeks to celebrate the books that make children laugh. He described a ‘ker-ching! moment’ when, judging a children's book prize, he realised that funny books tend to be overlooked in favour of more serious reads and yet children consistently state that funny books are the ones that they enjoy reading most.
This year, 400 school pupils had a role in the judging process, picking their favourite book. Rosen said that it was ‘wonderful to build in a children's viewpoint because you can hit a wall in the judging where too often you get into the 'would' bit – you start saying that children 'would' like it. Now we've built in children 'do' like it rather than children 'would'.’
Roald Dahl funny prize goes to naughty schoolboy (The Guardian)
Competitions and other lovely things
Join Jeff Kinney, the best-selling creator of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, as he brings Greg Heffley and his hilariously funny children’s books to life.
Find out how Greg was born, where the ‘cheese touch’ idea came from, and how Jeff’s much-loved characters made their screen debuts in the hugely successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid film franchise.
REGISTER NOW TO WATCH JEFF KINNEY STREAMED LIVE ACROSS THE INTERNET TO YOU ON FRIDAY 2ND DECEMBER AT 14.00-14.45 GMT
This event is perfect for 7-11 year olds.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has sold over 50 million copies worldwide and the sixth book DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: CABIN FEVER is coming on 16 November. This hilarious new book sees the Heffley family stuck indoors during a blizzard. But can they weather the storm? Get ready for the funniest fever you’ll ever catch!