English Usage Tips: Punctuation

PUNCTUATION: COMMAS

 

  • Using commas with appositive phrases – An appositive phrase is a noun phrase that identifies or adds detail about the noun right next to it.

Incorrect: Mr Khoo, who is a professional magician performed at my sister’s birthday party.

Correct: Mr Khoo, who is a professional magician, performed at my sister’s birthday party.

Incorrect: Mr Khoo, a professional magician is well known in Singapore.

Correct: Mr Khoo, a professional magician, is well known in Singapore.

 

  • Use commas, not colons, when punctuating dialogue

Incorrect: Before doing his trick, Mr Khoo said: “Hey, presto!”

Correct: Before doing his trick, Mr Khoo said, “Hey, presto!”

 

Smarter Than a LiteracyPlus Student

P6 MATHS

Weiyang started a savings plan by putting 2 coins in a money box every day.  Each coin was either a 20¢ or 50¢ coin. His mother put in a $1 coin in the box every 7 days. The total value of the coins after 182 days was $133.90.

(a)  How many coins were there altogether?

(b)  How many of the coins were 50¢ coins?

 

For the answer, click here.

 

 

P6 WRITING

Can you figure out what’s wrong with the Lesson Learnt Story Ending below? Many pupils are guilty of this mistake!

After nearly being bitten by the venomous viper, I learnt that I should be careful of snakes.

 

For the answer, click here.

 

 

P6 READING COMPREHENSION

What is the main idea of the passage below?

The tide was slowly rising, and the wet border it left on the shore inched further inland with every crashing wave. At first, the advance was gentle, and the water spilled a safe distance away from the sandcastle. But soon, the waves grew bigger and more urgent. They clawed their way closer and closer, taunting the hapless edifice with a spray of salty sneers. Once the water caught hold of the most vulnerable tower, there was no turning back. The sea came in, and the poor sandcastle crumbled away.

 

For the answer, click here.

LiteracyPlus Tidbits: Short Stories

THE VALUE OF SHORT STORIES

 

Short stories incorporate many basic literary elements.

Main character, setting, conflict, plot, symbols and theme are examples of story elements which appear not only in novels and chapter books, but also in short stories. However, determining these elements in a short story takes less time, for the reading experience is shorter.

 

Input and feedback are immediate.

As a parent, your child’s questions about and reactions to the short story can be dealt with on the spot because of the length of the story. You can immediately assess your child’s oral reading and literary, discussion and comprehension skills.

 

The short story form gives children a realistic writing model.

By sharing and analysing language and literary elements as they appear in short stories, children can find examples which they can use as models for their own compositions.

 

Collections worth collecting…

The short story genre can include fairy tales, folktales, fables and even picture books. Famous traditional authors include Aesop, Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. For Upper Primary pupils, Newbery Award-winner Avi has two well-received collections: Strange Happenings: Five Tales of Transformation and Best Shorts: Favorite Short Stories for Sharing selected by Avi with Carolyn Shute. As Katherine Paterson writes in her afterward, “Do read these stories with your family, your friends or your classmates. Try reading one aloud, your ears catching details that your eyes skipped over.”

 

Book Recommendations

RECOMMENDED CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

 

Title: Little Brown Bear Won’t Go to School

Author: Jane Dyer

Range: Ages 3 – 7

Synopsis: What’s the point of attending school? Little Brown Bear decides to forego an education and go to work like his Mama and Papa, but none of his jobs pan out. No one at the diner can read the orders he takes, his construction work doesn’t hold together, he gets tangled in a scarf he tries to knit, and the buzz cut he gives a lion makes the beast roar his displeasure! Now he knows why he needs to go to school – he’s got a lot to learn! Dyer’s sunny water colours are filled with lush detail and subtle humour. Kids will love exploring every illustration.

 

Title: Niagara Falls, or Does it?

Author: Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver

Range: Ages 8 -12

Synopsis: Hank Zipzer’s journals, “The Mostly True Confessions of the World’s Best Underachiever,” chronicle how a smart, well-intentioned, wise-cracking fourth grader survives his worst enemy – himself. Everything is a challenge for Hank, from punctuality to punctuation. In this first book of the series, Hank missteps on the very first day of school. The first-person perspective brings Hank sharply into focus. He’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of kid. The text reflects his cheeky approach to life and the dialogue rings true. Hank’s not perfect, not by a long shot, but his honesty and self-deprecating attitude will garner him hero status and lots of fans that identify with him.

 

Title: The Cheat

Author: Amy Goldman Koss

Range: Ages 10 – 14

Synopsis: A cheating scandal embroils an eighth-grade class after the class geek tries to impress the beauty queen by giving her the answers to a geography exam before the test. When the popular clique shares the inside information, the test results play havoc with the lives of everyone involved. Dramatically revealed in alternating first-person accounts, this inside look at middle-grade mores packs a powerful punch because the six students divulge all the conscience-wracking details. Told with irreverence and humour, it is an adolescent exposé that explores the values of trust and honour and the repercussions of deceit. Integrity may be deemed a cliché by some teens, but it is obvious from the fallout of this experience that cheating is not worth the self-destruction it inevitably causes.

Source: Reading Today’s “Children’s Book Review” by Lynne T. Burke

 

English Usage Tips: Punctuation

PUNCTUATION: HYPHENS

 

  • When do you use hyphens in numbers?

Incorrect: There are three-hundred-sixty-five days in a year.

Correct: There are three hundred sixty-five days in a year.

Use a hyphen when writing out the numbers twenty-one to ninety-nine in words. Do not use hyphens for other numbers.

 

Incorrect: France has a 35 hour working week.

Correct: France has a 35-hour working week.

Incorrect: The ten year old boy wanted to become an archaeologist.

Correct: The ten-year-old boy wanted to become an archaeologist.

Use hyphens only when the number functions as an adjective phrase.

 

English Paper 2 Tips (Primary – Reading Comprehension)

READING COMPREHENSION

 

Tip #1

Make connections to personal life to aid understanding

Good readers notice pieces of text that relate to or remind them of:

  • Their lives, past experiences and prior knowledge
  • Other books, articles, movies, songs, or pieces of writing
  • Events, people, or issues

This helps readers understand what the character may be going through and think about what a character might be thinking.

 

 

 

Tip #2

Monitor / Clarify

Proficient readers do not just plough ahead through text when it doesn’t make sense. They try to figure out words and ideas in order to restore their understanding of the passage. One of the most important “fix-up” tools is rereading text.

  • Sound out unfamiliar words
  • Reread the text to see if you can figure out the problem
  • Read on; go on to the next paragraph or section to see if you can get further information

 

 

Tip #3

Ask questions

Good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading to better understand the author and the meaning of the test.

  • “What is the message?”
  • “I wonder what will happen next?”
  • “How could this be explained to others?”

 

 

Tip #4

Infer

Keen readers know how to “read between the lines”. Using their background knowledge and clues from the text, they can draw conclusions and infer characters’ feelings/traits.

 

 

Find out how LiteracyPlus’ EELS programme can support your child in their learning. Call 6777 2468 or enquire at here.

 

For more English Paper 2 tips, click on the following links below:

Maths Concepts Explained!

Confused by all the different Maths problems and concepts that your child has to learn? Then this is the parent workshop for you. Understanding these ‘new’ Maths problems will better equip you as a parent to help and support your child.

Concept 1: Percentages – Salary & Savings

These questions are commonly tested in exams and many pupils do not know how to solve them.

Nancy spent $800 of her monthly salary and saved the rest. In April, she increased her spending by 40% and her savings decreased by 25%. How much is her monthly salary?

Concept 2: Gap & Difference

One of the most common and basic concepts that can be applied to make solving word problems a lot easier.

A group of students took part in a Maths quiz. They found that if one of them had scored an additional 15 marks, their average score would be 88 marks. However, if one of them had scored 20 marks less, their average score becomes 83 marks. How many students were there in the group?

 

Click on the flyer below for workshop details.

 

Spaces are limited, so call 6777 2468 or SIGN UP ONLINE today!

2018 P5 Maths Camp: Jun

Word problems make up about 50% of the Maths paper. Being able to identify the concept of each question will enable the pupil to employ the correct and most effective strategy to solve the problem. The word problem concepts that will be taught in this camp are must know concepts and are commonly found in P5 exam papers.

 

 

Spaces are limited, so call 6777 2468 or SIGN UP ONLINE today!

2018 PSLE Intensive Programmes: Jun

As part of the PSLE preparatory process, we will also be running a variety of PSLE intensive preparation programmes over the June holiday.

Each programme has 5 lessons, Monday to Friday, with lessons being 2 hours daily. All programmes have two start dates: 4 June & 18 June.

The programmes are designed to gear pupils up for key components of the PSLE and give them an edge in their exam preparation.

 

PSLE Oral Intensive Programme

Boost your child’s confidence in taking the oral exam. Hone vocal delivery skills through exercises, build vocabulary and practice tips on how to prepare for the Stimulus-based conversation.

 

PSLE Writing Intensive Programme

Give your child an edge in Paper 1. Learn how to generate relevant and specific elaborative detail, techniques to reveal character traits, and how to avoid writing abrupt story endings.

 

PSLE EL Paper 2 Intensive Programme

The programme focuses on tackling reading comprehension, grammar cloze and comprehension cloze. Practice answering interpretive comprehension-level questions and applying cloze passage tips.

 

PSLE Maths Intensive Programme

Build your child’s familiarity with the variety of word problems that will be tested on the PSLE. Topics such as Area & Perimeter, Whole Numbers, Fractions, Percentage and Speed & Ratio will be covered.

 

Spaces are limited, so call 6777 2468 or SIGN UP ONLINE today!

English Usage Tips: Grammar

GRAMMAR: PLURAL NOUNS & CONTRACTIONS

 

  • fish OR fishes?

Incorrect: Some customers like to smell the fishes to make sure that they are fresh.

Correct: Some customers like to smell the fish to make sure that they are fresh.

The plural of fish is usually fish: ‘a fish’, ‘three fish’. Fishes occur mostly in children’s literature. 

 

 

 

  • it’s OR its?

Incorrect: The dog lost it’s bone.

Correct: The dog lost its bone.

Incorrect: Its under the chair.

Correct: It’s (it is) under the chair.

The confusion between it’s and its occurs because ‘s indicates possession, so English speakers naturally want to use it’s to mean ‘something belonging to it’. But it’s is only used when it’s a contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. Otherwise, it’s always its.

 

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