Is your child ready for Year 8?
The transition from Primary to Secondary school is one of the important milestones in every child’s life. It can often be a daunting time for children as they move from the safe, sheltered environment of the Primary classroom with one teacher to the much busier world of secondary education with multiple teachers, classrooms and homework to try to keep on top of. It is all too easy to let your child take a holiday from all things education for the whole summer. However, remember that the last few months of Primary 7 are often filled with less academic activities and it is especially important that the summer brain drain does not mean your child falls behind at the beginning of their first year.
So what can you do over the summer months to make sure your child is ready and able to cope with the realities of being a “Firsty”?
Keep them reading!
Sit down with your child and create a summer reading list. Give them a target of perhaps 3 or 4 books per month and let them select the books that interest them.
Summer Reading List:
The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke – A magical adventure which blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction when an evil ruler escapes the pages of a book and enters the world of a young girl called Meggie.
Ratburger by David Walliams – One of Britain’s favourite comedians returns with another hilarious romp. The story of a little girl called Zoe whose stepmother treats her like a slave and whose pet rat is in danger of being turned into a burger by the evil Burt from Burt’s Burgers.
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman – This award winning trilogy has turned into a classic which adults will enjoy just as much as the teenagers. The story of Lyra and her Demon is set in two parallel universes and takes the reader on a fantastical quest to save children from a terrible fate.
The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl the criminal mastermind who is still only a boy. Can he be stopped from stealing from the fairies? This bold and daring thief takes on more than he bargained when he captures a leprechaun.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B White – This timeless classic should be on everyone’s reading list. A beautiful spider helps to save Wilbur the pig from his fate.
Alex Rider Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz – Follow the adventures of orphan Alex Rider as he finds himself recruited by MI6 to train as a super spy. This book will keep even the most reluctant of readers turning the page!
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo – This book is essential reading for children and adults alike. The themes of childhood, growing up too young, friendship, courage and war make thought provoking reading in this heart breaking story of brothers thrust into the horror of the trenches.
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien – This tale of Hobbits, elves, trolls, goblins and wizards is still as addictive today as it was when it was first published. The world of Middle Earth and the magical adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his friends is a masterpiece in children’s fiction and a must read for all pre-teens.
Anne Frank: A Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – The remarkable, true account of a young girl caught up in the horrors of World War 2. A Jewish family forced into hiding in Nazi occupied Amsterdam – Anne’s diary chronicles her own experience of the transformation from childhood to adolescence and the terror of the persecution of the Jews.
Another great way to keep brains ticking over and make sure that their communication skills are not restricted to texting is to have them write a blog about their summer holidays. Try setting one up on a simple site like WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger. If you are uncomfortable with your child’s blogging efforts being available to the public you can make the blog private and send a link to friends and family so they can comment on their work. Blogging is a fantastic way to ensure your child continues to practise their writing skills and the novelty of self- publishing is often much more appealing than asking them to put pen to paper.
Practice mental skills
On average children lose as much as 3 months’ worth of knowledge during summer holidays! At this crucial transition stage it is vital to consolidate the skills learned in the Primary school, to give your child the best possible starting point in their first year at secondary. Fast and reliable mental maths is the key to success! Try making a game of arithmetic – Let your child take control of the weekly shopping. Give them a budget and a list of what is needed. Can they make sure it will all add up once they get to the till? Cooking is a chance to revise fractions and measure. Every day experiences can be fun and interesting, while giving children opportunities to go over the skills they need.
What about on holiday?
Pack some suitable books that they will enjoy reading in a quiet moment, some books of puzzles, word games and logic problems. There are lots available in the shops. Even simple crosswords and Sudoku’s can make a big difference and help your child develop fast, accurate thinking skills.
By Clare Rimmer