Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Whole Story

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Whole Story

Article excerpt

The Sats tests for children in Year 6 are changing - the new ones are going to be much tougher. There's even a suggestion that failing children might have to spend part of their summer holiday in a local secondary school as teachers try to get them up to speed. I bet teachers and students will be over the moon about that.

A glance at the new tests makes you question the minds compiling them. Take English, for example. We're told that pupils will be asked to identify subordinate clauses, recognise adverbials and use the subjunctive. Then the children will be asked whether a given sentence contains a simile, onomatopoeia or alliteration. Are the compilers trying to put children off literature for life?

At the age of 11, I wouldn't have known onomatopoeia if it had jumped up and bitten me, but I was already fired by literature. Why? Because I was fortunate in having a mother who had read widely, cared deeply about books and whose greatest wish was to instil a similar love in her children. We explored many classics together: The Coral Island, Swallows and Amazons, Treasure Island, Peter Pan. She would often stop and savour a paragraph, asking me to listen to the way the sentences had been assembled, or to the rhythm of a sequence of words.

Then, at primary school, there were teachers who loved reading aloud to the class. I particularly remember Miss Webb's skill at dividing a story into segments that enabled her to stop at a cliffhanger. How well I remember fearing for the little girl in Old Peter's Russian Tales being chased across the hills by Baba Yaga, the evil, iron-toothed witch. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.