Vocabulary and the 11+

A broad and sophisticated vocabulary is one of the many tools your child should be equipped with when sitting 11+ exams.

Vocabulary is tested in a variety of ways; certain verbal reasoning question types and comprehensions will test a child’s word knowledge and a broad vocabulary will always enhance one’s writing. (Please note that your child may not be tested in all of the aforementioned areas, the content of 11+/entrance exams can vary e.g. some involve creative writing and others do not).

While no one can ever predict which words children will have their knowledge tested on, there are still ways that children can prepare. Also, the strengthening of vocabulary will never be a waste of time as it enhances language skills, which are transferable to communication skills and increase a child’s writing potential.

Education Boutiques Top Tips and Recommendations:

  • Read, read and read! The more your child reads the more they are soaking up new words. They are also being introduced to these words in context, so even if your child isn’t familiar with the word and its meaning, the sentence the word is in, can assist in decoding the meaning of the word.
  • However, we never want children to be turned off reading and this can happen if children view reading as a ‘chore’. Here at Education Boutique, we promote the ‘one for your head, one for your heart’ approach; read a new book (a book that will introduce your child to new words and even a new genre) and then the next book your child reads can be one of their favourites.
  • When your child is reading and asks you what a word means, do not rush into telling them. Ask them to read the whole sentence again, make a prediction and then get them to look up the meaning of the word (we recommend electronic bookmarks for quick reference, tablets are fine as long as the tablet won’t become a distraction!)
  • Have a blank notebook on hand that your child can write newly learnt words in while they are reading, this will become their vocabulary notebook. They can then revisit the words and write definitions, synonyms and antonyms for the words and write sentences using these new words to prove understanding. This notebook will be a great study aid.
  • S.L. Ager’s vocabulary novels, written specifically with 11+ exams in mind, are a must! The unique books have a built-in dictionary on every page. The books each contain over 3000-word definitions, synonyms and antonyms. To top it off the story (Book Two was recently released and follows on from Book One) is original and exciting. There are also accompanying Comprehension and Creative Writing Workbooks and Vocabulary Revision Notebooks for both novels.
  • Education Boutique offer an 11+ Vocabulary Builder Course, that is accessed via a computer or tablet and carried out at your child’s own pace. The course includes stimulating picture cards, audio for pronunciation, activities and end of module quizzes. For further information please visit the resource section of our website www.educationboutique.co.uk .

Brooke McClure, Lead Resource Teacher at Education Boutique

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