Supporting Development in English at KS3

What can you do to support your development in English?

Firstly: you must remember that English is an investment subject. This means that it requires continuous investment of time and effort, if you want to improve. You cannot read one book, or do a SPaG test online and suddenly become a genius in the subject. From committing to and practising the activities I list below, you will become stronger in the subject over time. It will be worth it, I promise!

So, what can you do at home?

Read: The best thing you can possibly do to improve in English is to read widely, both fiction and nonfiction. It has been proven many, many times that reading for twenty minutes a day will significantly raise your attainment.

Reading will help you to:

  • expand your vocabulary;
  • develop an appreciation of writer’s craft;
  • extend your knowledge of a range of subjects/topics;
  • understand how writers structure their work at sentence, chapter and whole text level;
  • develop your understanding of a range of contexts (both social/historical and genre related);
  • become better acquainted with the unique styles of a range of writers;
  • support your attainment in all of your other subjects.

(These are just a few of the benefits!)

N.B. As you read, I strongly recommend that you keep a notebook by your side, so that you can write down any words which you do not understand. This way, you can research their meaning later on, write down the definition and then have a better chance of remembering this word in the future. If you aren’t logging down any new vocabulary, the text is not challenging enough for you!

Useful website: Recommend me a book allows you not to go judging books by their covers! It offers the first page of thousands of books, if you’re interested after the first page, press ‘reveal text and author’, then you can go directly to Amazon or your school library to find the book! If you’re not interested, select ‘next book’. And repeat. http://www.recommendmeabook.com

For a full list of recommended reading at KS3, please access this document https://www.dropbox.com/s/oj6q4f7e0ljj4hb/reading-list-2015-ks3.pdf?dl=0 . Thanks to @SaysMiss for compiling this wonderful resource. Each genre is broken down, with the level of challenge noted for each text.

In terms of supporting your technical ability, I recommend the following websites as starting points:

Free Rice is a very useful website for developing your vocabulary. The quizzes adjust to accommodate your ability, growing gradually harder as you become more accomplished. Free Rice also provides grammar quizzes. It is also a social enterprise; the more questions you answer correctly, the more rice they donate to charity! http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1950

Oxford Dictionaries: Spellings is an invaluable website for practicing tricky and/or irregular spellings. A small notebook and committing to learning around five of the spellings from this list per week could significantly help you in your English attainment. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/spelling/common-misspellings

BBC Bitesize is a fab resource for supporting your knowledge of the texts that we study in class. There are also a range of activities and resources to support your development in English. The SPaG support is fantastic. http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/z3kw2hv

BBC Learning English is an excellent site for learning how English used by native speakers. It can help you to understand idioms and commonly used grammatical structures. http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/

Thoughtco is the best search engine for academic research. It’s scholarly and reliable. Saves you the effort of sifting through the flotsam produced by a Google search. Have a browse of anything that interests you! Great for research based home work tasks. http://www.thoughtco.com

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