So the Summer Holidays are here and it is time to recap on all the wonderful Englishy things that you have learnt this academic year. This blog is designed to ensure that anything that you have found challenging can be worked on over the summer so that you are ready to apply them with confidence next academic year. 

Contained in this blog are links to lots of helpful worksheets that are designed to build your confidence and application of key techniques.

Let’s begin at the beginning and start by focussing on the basics. The basics are the foundations on which you build all of your skills to really master your English skills. At first remembering all of these key techniques can be really tricky but once they are mastered everything becomes clear!

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 12.45.08SPAG is the best! The best way to improve your Spelling and Grammar is to read. Read anything and everything. For those of you that prefer non-fiction and factual reading, First News is great for young readers to really improve their comprehension skills. This online newspaper is full of interesting news stories and is easily accessible. Worksheets designed to help you to hone these grammar and punctuation skills are here.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 12.46.03.pngRevisiting your spellings is absolutely essential and our really handy worksheets will allow you to revise commonly misspelt words and make you aware of the common errors that you are making. Year 8 worksheets are designed to help you to focus your attention on these words. Reading is also an absolute must in developing and improving your understanding of English. Fictional novels that have really compelling storylines are Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Private Peaceful’ and David Almonds ‘Skellig’. Both novels are beautifully and imaginatively written and in such a way that you the reader, becomes completely immersed in the world of the story.

Private Peaceful is the hauntingly beautiful and tragic story told from the perspective of Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful a World War 1 soldier defending his country from the French Trenches. Private Peaceful offers a haunting insight into 20th Century Warfare and how sometimes the threats came not from enemy lines but from the very people you are fighting for. This novel is particularly poignant this summer with the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

Skellig is a highly imaginative and innovative novel exploring the story of Michael who moves to a new house with his family soon after the birth of his seriously ill baby sister. As Michael struggles to deal with the huge change in family dynamics and the very real possibility of losing his baby sister before even getting to know her Michael finds someone in his derelict garage who needs his help and gives him a purpose and so much more.

Both novels have accompanying films that compliment what has been read and it is really good as a family to compare and contrast the books and films. It is really important to note that the books should be read before embarking upon watching the films.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 12.46.19.pngWith the huge changes brought about by the GCSE reforms and the moves from many school now to move to the model of a three year KS4, meaning that GCSE studies begin in Year 9, it is essential to get ahead of the game. The key skills that need to be embedded are the ability to write persuasively including a wide range of sentence structures, an extended vocabulary and an understanding and application of word structure. A range of worksheets to support and develop these skills can be found here.

Don’t be afraid of Poetry!! Poetry can be brilliant and lots of fun to explore and analyse. It is also a key part of the GCSE English Curriculum so it cannot be ignored or avoided.

Exploring novels in detail is a very important skill. One of the most popular GCSE texts is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. This is one of the most significant American Novels ever written and tells the story of George and Lenny two drifters who are desperately trying to obtain the American Dream to own their own home. Set against the backdrop of the great depression in America in the 1920’s the two men find refuge on a ranch in California and so begins a chain of events that will change their lives forever. The themes explored in the novel include friendship, loneliness, racism and love. A truly compelling read which challenges the reader by exploring complex characters who are as bad as they are good. This book is hard to put down and will offer an unparalleled insight into the harsh reality of California in the 1920’s.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 12.46.32Year 10 is a year for consolidation of your key skills ready for your examinations in Year 11. One of the key things that you will need to focus on in Year 10 is your Speaking and Listening Presentation. This is an opportunity for you to deliver a verbal presentation on a topic of your choice. The topic choice is completely yours and my advice would be to present on something that you have a genuine interest and good understanding of. This is something that requires lots of preparation and rehearsal to ensure that what you deliver is coherent, interesting and represents your best effort. One of the hardest things with putting together a presentation is starting it. My advice is to make notes and create brain showers that can be developed into a coherent presentation. There is a range of highly useful worksheet designed to support you in your endeavours and it can be found here. 

Poetry is as ever something that you can never have too much practice of and it is a key part of the assessment in your terminal examinations in Year 11. So to ensure that your analysis skills are at their best I would really suggest that you make good use of the worksheets.

Don’t be afraid of Shakespeare, he is one of the biggest literary influences of all time and he created many of the words that we use today. Never be put off by the fact that the language he used 500 years ago. Think of it like this your parents don’t understand some of what you talk about and there is not a 500-year difference between them being your age so it is completely understandable that there would be a seismic shift in language over 5 centuries. The most important thing to remember about Shakespeare is that he constructed complex and compelling storylines, which contain themes and issues prevalent in society today. One of my all time favourites is the story of the evil Macbeth a man so consumed by achieving absolute power that he is willing to disregard and destroy all that he once held dear. It is the story of unbelievable betrayal and senseless violence set against a backdrop of witchcraft and mystery which were hugely popular themes in the 16th Century and something we are still mesmerised by today. A range of innovative worksheets can be found here.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 12.46.45.pngWell, five years of hard work is about to pay off so it is now time to refocus your efforts and prepare for the last stretch. Due to the nature of the new GCSE one of the key areas over your examinations is that you consolidate all of the many things that you have learned over the years. It is essential that your SPAG is on point and that you write with sophistication and understanding.

A key to success in your exams next summer is practice, practice and some more practice. It is key that you familiarise yourself with the layout of examination papers and ensuring that you can complete all tasks in the time allotted. This summer a great way to prepare yourself for the forthcoming mocks and then your terminal exams is to undertake timed essays. Make sure you give yourself the same time frame that you will have in the exam and practice questions. As ever there is a range of excellent resources designed to support you and allow you to practice key areas. These resources can be found here.

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Written by our teacher Mrs Davey, our English teacher. Mrs Davey’s summer learning top tip is:
“My top tip? Reading, reading and reading!”