The March holidays are almost upon us! Can you believe Term 1 whizzed by just like that?
This upcoming one-week break is a good time for parents and students to take a short pause and consolidate what was learnt in Term 1. However, it is also a great time for your child to pick up some new skills and/or work on any weaknesses.
Among all the areas covered in the English language, writing is one of the sections that parents seem to be most anxious about.
Writing at the primary school level is not easy as it involves a multitude of skills:
So, what can you, as a parent, do this March to help boost your child’s writing skills without having to delve into assessment books? Here are 3 activities:
If you’re searching for some outdoor fun this March, head down to Singapore’s highest hill, preferably in the morning. Standing at 163 metres, this hill may be an easy climb for active hikers, but it will be a challenge to a child or anyone who does not usually engage in such strenuous physical tasks.
One struggle many pupils have is generating story ideas because they lack real world experience. Pupils write based on what they have heard others say or because they saw a similar scene in a movie. However, movies are often not the best representation of real life as the movie’s events are often outrageous, exaggerated and over-the-top. When pupils rely heavily on hearsay or movies, this can result in illogical details or a strange sequencing of events in their compositions. Climbing Bukit Timah Hill will provide your child with an authentic experience that he or she will now be able to look back on.
Additionally, many upper primary composition topics are often tied to perseverance, achieving a goal, or overcoming difficulty. Climbing Bukit Timah Hill will present your child with the opportunity to experience what a physically demanding task is. If you’re lucky, you may even spot wild monkeys during your hike (but do stay away from them for your own safety!).
Miss Vanessa's Recommendations
Task Focus: Including thoughts, feelings and showing descriptions
At various stages of the climb, ask your child how he or she is feeling. What are your child’s thoughts about the climb? Jot these ideas down on your mobile phone or record your child’s response as a voice note.
When at home:
With the notes, have your child write a descriptive paragraph for each stage of the climb.
Task Focus: Describing one’s surroundings
During the climb:
Pick a scenic spot and ask your child to use the five senses to describe the place. For example, “dressed in colourful sports attire, a group of chatty middle-aged women overtook us.” (Sight & Sound). You can help to jot these ideas down on your mobile phone too.
Once you've arrived home:
Have your child form a descriptive paragraph before reading it out to a family member. Did listening to that paragraph make that family member feel like he or she was also at Bukit Timah Hill?
If you have younger children, head down to Dairy Farm Nature Park. Just a short hike up from the entrance is Wallace Education Centre–an open-air cow shed with a visitors’ centre. While there are no cows here, you and your child can learn the history of Dairy Farm’s changing landscape. This education centre also has clean toilet facilities.
The Wallace Trail is a one kilometre walk for kids. However, do take note that some sections of the path have bulging tree roots or steps without railings. While there, you and your child can take in the views and make observations about the flora and fauna. Expect to see betel trees, mushrooms and torch ginger. You might even get the chance to see some macaques!
Museums are a treasure trove of information. While this may seem like a cliché holiday activity, there usually is always something new to see each time you visit. Furthermore, most museums have free entry for Singapore citizens and permanent residents!
The ongoing exhibition, “Picturing the Pandemic: A Visual Record of COVID-19 in Singapore” that uses photographs to showcase how Singapore has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic. This can generate talking points between you and your child, and help your child learn about how others struggled in 2020.
For something more light-hearted, try the “Home, Truly: Growing Up With Singapore, 1950s to the Present” exhibition. It features moments and experiences in Singapore’s past and present that express our identity and collective memory as a country. Your child can get a clearer idea of what happened in the past, and what you, their parent, experienced during your own childhood.
Miss Vanessa's Recommendations
Task Focus: Writing about current affairs and real world experiences from a different point of view
When at the museum:
At the Picturing the Pandemic: A Visual Record of COVID-19 in Singapore exhibition, have your child pick out one photograph or a few that stood out. Have your child elaborate on the struggles he or she thinks the people in the photograph(s) experienced.
Upon arriving home:
Challenge your child to write a composition from the perspective of one of the people in those photos (e.g. an old woman or nurse). Guide your child to recall the details that were in the photos and incorporate that into his or her writing.
Task Focus: Writing a story that is set in the past
What to do at the exhibition:
At the end of the Home, Truly: Growing Up with Singapore, 1950s to the Present exhibit, have your child select an era that was most memorable (1950s, 1960s, etc.). Get your child to explain what was particularly memorable about that era? What does he or she think life was like then?
Once you arrive home:
With a given title, challenge your child to write a composition set in that chosen era. Help him or her recall the details seen in the exhibit to make the writing more authentic.
While school is out for the week, LiteracyPlus is open and ready to provide your child with the writing boost he or she needs.
This March, we have a plethora of holiday programmes for 10- to 12-year-olds.
For P4s, our Enhancing Writing Skills programme will teach them to bring life through characterisation. Our Strategic Writing Skills programme for P5s will reinforce their understanding of Showing descriptions and expand their imagination through engaging visualisation activities. For the P6s, our Writing With Style programme will teach them how to incorporate suspense and slow down scenes in their writing for maximum impact.
Aside from writing programmes, LiteracyPlus is also offering Paper 2 boosters for pupils who need some guidance with essential reading skills. For any of our March holiday programmes, sign up with a friend and you will each get a 10% discount!