English Usage Tips: Grammar

GRAMMAR: PREPOSITIONS

  • on OR in OR at?

A:  Listen – is this right: ‘I live on 99 Bishan Road’?

B:  No, that’s wrong! You live in 99 Bishan Road.

C:  Both wrong! You live at 99 Bishan Road.

Who is right? In is generally used when we talk about a location ‘inside’ something (in the house, in the theatre). On is used for a location ‘on top of’ something (on the table, on the floor), and at is used for a location which is a point on a horizontal or vertical surface (at the end of the drive, at the window). The problem is that there are different ways of looking at the same location.

But C is right.

At is used when street numbers are mentioned because we think of a particular point along the street, namely No. 99.

 

PSLE Changes & Model Drawing

Unsure of the latest PSLE changes and its implications? This is the perfect workshop for you. In addition, learn how model drawing can be effectively applied to make solving word problems easier for your child.

Join us at our hands-on workshop and learn from our Head of Mathematics, Mrs Edna Wong, a former HOD with more than 15 years of primary school teaching experience.

 

Click on the flyer below for workshop details.

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

2018 Year-end Holiday Programmes

Our year-end holiday programme schedule is out! Check out the different holiday programmes we are running for N1 to P6 students by clicking the images below.

 

N1-K2 The Big Hungry Bear

This workshop for preschoolers is not to be missed. Centered around the famous children’s book The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear, there will be storytelling, readers’ theatre, educational games, as well as a hands-on activity where children make their own Hungry Bear sandwich!

 

P1 Superheroes Writing Programme

Does your child have difficulty expressing himself/herself in writing? Taught in a safe and encouraging environment, pupils will learn how to write creatively ​on the theme​ of Superheroes. ​They will learn how to brainstorm descriptive words and phrases before putting their ideas into writing.  Using interactive activities such as storytelling, dramatisation ​and kinaesthetic games, pupils will have a chance to unleash their creative juices and expand their vocabulary.

 

P2 to P5 Holiday Camps

Looking to give your child a head start for next year? We are offering a variety of English and Maths programmes that you can choose to give your child practice in – creative writing, oral presentation, English paper 2 and Maths word problems.

 

P6 Intro to Sec 1 

How English is tested in secondary school is vastly different from primary school. This programme is designed to give your child a taste of what the secondary English papers are like, so that they start the school year with a clearer idea of what is expected of them.

A brief summary of the course contents is as follows:

  • Day 1: Editing & Situational Writing
  • Day 2: Continuous Writing
  • Day 3: Visual Text Comprehension
  • Day 4: Reading Comprehension & Summary Writing
  • Day 5: Listening Comprehension & Oral

 

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

Upcoming Parent Workshops

Ever wondered why your child is unable to apply the Maths concepts learnt to his/her exam paper? It is because not all students are able to bridge the gap between what is taught in schools and what is tested in the exams themselves. It is often higher-order, non-routine problem sums which students have difficulty with.

At this hands-on workshop, pick up tips and tricks and gain exposure to skills and strategies which you can immediately apply to help your child solve word problems.

 

Did you know that for secondary school Editing, unlike primary school where the errors are underlined, the errors are unmarked and students have to be able to find the errors themselves as well as identify two lines that are error free?

Did you know that secondary school Visual Text Comprehension questions test students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to evaluate the use of visuals and use of language for impact?

Get mentally prepared and find out exactly how different secondary English is from primary English by attending our workshop!

 

Join us at our hands-on Maths workshop to learn from our Head of Mathematics as she shares how model drawing can be effectively applied to make solving word problems easy. A visual means of helping young children “see” the word problem, model drawing can be a very useful tool when used the correct way.

 

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

LiteracyPlus Tidbits: Run-on Sentences

 BEING AWARE OF RUN-ON SENTENCES

 

A common mistake that pupils make in their writing is run-on sentences. A run-on sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that are run together without proper punctuation. (An independent clause is a clause that can stand by itself as a complete sentence.)

Incorrect: Pain surged through Amy’s leg she screamed.

Correct: Pain surged through Amy’s leg. She screamed.

 

Another way to correct a run-on sentence is to connect the independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). However, when doing so, there must be a comma before the coordinating conjunction.

Incorrect: I felt hungry, I ate an apple.

Correct: I felt hungry, so I ate an apple.

 

We sometimes speak in run-on sentences, but we add pauses and change our tone so people can understand us. When we write, no one can hear us. Hence, pupils need to be careful not to blindly write the way they speak.

 

Another thing that pupils need to be aware of is that if a sentence is long, it does not necessarily mean the sentence is a run-on. A sentence may be long but grammatically correct. For example:

Almost at the finish line, Terry picked up her pace in order to further distance herself from the rest of her competitors and to show her father, who was watching her in the stands, that all her hard work was going to pay off.

 

A good composition should be written with sentences of varying lengths. In an attempt to achieve this, pupils need to be careful that they aren’t writing run-on sentences instead.

 

Oral Tips: Pronunciation

PRONUNCIATION

 

Commonly mispronounced words in Singapore:

 

Word Correct Pronunciation Incorrect Pronunciation
abacus A-ba-cus a-BAC-cus
baton ba-TON BAY-ten
calendar CA-len-der ca-LAN-der
calligraphy ca-LIG-gra-phy ca-li-GRAPH-y
chick CHICK CHEEK
comparable COM-pa-re-ble com-PARE-re-bel
economy e-CON-no-my e-co-NO-my
entrepreneur en-tre-pre-NEUR en-tre-PRE-neur

 

LiteracyPlus Tidbits: Oral Communication Skills

BUILDING ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS

 

The ability to communicate effectively is an important skill. Cultivating good oral communication skills takes practice and reinforcement. Thankfully, there are many ways that parents can incorporate the teaching and reinforcement of oral communication skills in everyday situations.

 

Keep It Casual

Have your child share about his/her day, or any topic of interest, but have him/her do so facing you so you can focus on your child’s posture, eye contact and voice projection. Content does not always have to be a priority. You want to ingrain good foundational oral skills in your child.

 

Poetry

Poetry is a great tool to practise delivery skills. Select a short, funny poem as ‘Poem of the Week’ for your child to practise with.

 

Once Upon A Time

Use short sentences from well-known stories or fairy tales for your child to practise oral delivery skills. “Who ate my porridge?” (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) and “I will huff, and I will puff, and I will blow your house down!” (The Three Little Pigs), for example, are great for children to practise tone, facial expressions and voice projection. Encourage your child to come up with other good sentences from his/her favourite stories.

 

The Big “C”

Consistency is key! Practising good oral communication skills should not only be done close to exams, but across the board at all times. Be vigilant in correcting your child’s incorrect pronunciation and incorrect language usage. (I want go toilet vs. I would like to use the washroom.)

 

Oral Tips: SBC

STIMULUS-BASED CONVERSATION

 

Tip #1

Do not give one word ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers. Instead, elaborate your answers when responding.

Don’t stop after saying something general. Remember the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why & how) to help you elaborate.

 

Tip #2

Carry on your conversation with the examiner until he/she asks you to stop. When you close your conversation, remember to go back to the topic in your conclusion (e.g. Singapore will be a more gracious society and a happier place in which to live if we are all kind to the elderly. After all, we will all grow old one day too!).

Oral Tips: Reading Aloud

READING ALOUD

 

Tip #1

When reading the test passage, pronounce words clearly and correctly. 

  • Know the difference between the short vowel ĭ and the long vowel ē sound.

e.g.  chĭck / cheek      slĭp / sleep      fĭll / feel

  • Pronounce end consonants clearly.

e.g.  Tom wants (not ‘want’) to play football.

e.g.  Do your best (not ‘bess’) later.

  • Know how to pronounce thcorrectly.

e.g.  This (not ‘dis’) is the way to school.

e.g.  My father (not ‘fah-der’) drives a taxi.

 

Tip #2

Read expressively so your reader does not get bored.

  • Vary your pitch, making sure that your voice goes up and down.

e.g.  Where are the children? (questions end on a high note)

e.g.  It’s time for dinner. (affirmative statements should end in a level pitch)

  • Stress the important words.

e.g.  Let’s eat children.   vs.   Let’s eat, children.

  • Adjust your volume so you don’t speak in a monotone.

e.g.  Soft to Loud: whisper–mutter–state–announce–demand–exclaim–shout

 

Tip #3

Practice chunking phrases to develop fluency.

  • Focus on reading groups of words, or phrases, rather than individual words.
  • Practise using slashes (/ /) to group words into phrases. Remember to pause when you see a full-stop or comma.

When the starter fired his gun, / the competitors dashed off with John in the lead. / Ben followed closely behind, / waiting for the right time for his final sprint. / At the last bend, / he began to pull ahead. / Finally, / he reached the finishing line / two full seconds before his classmate. / He had won the race!

LiteracyPlus Tidbits: Literature

THE VALUE OF LITERATURE

 

The very word ‘Literature’ brings to mind dusty, difficult books stacked in a rarely frequented corner of the library, or long hours spent dissecting Hemingway, Conrad, or the sonnets and plays of Shakespeare.

But Literature does not have to be boring, or stuffy, or ‘only for the bright kids’. It is for everyone.

 

Literature opens up new worlds to children. It teaches them about people and places, both real and imaginary. It teaches them to empathise, feel and explore emotions. It teaches them values and what it is to be human.

 

Literature can be used to illustrate the many forms writing can take—personal narrative, exposition, poetry, fantasy, and so on. Hence, it is greatly encouraged for a child to read widely to gain that exposure.

 

Literature provides children with a variety of narrative structures that can help them become better writers. Children can borrow from these models as they shape their own pieces, adapting story structures to their own needs and imitating patterns other writers have created. Through such modelling and adaptation, children will start picking up writing styles, vocabulary and plot ideas, and begin developing their own writing styles.

 

Building a child’s interest in Literature can be done in a myriad of interesting ways: through reading aloud, dramatisation, choral reading, games, journal response, the TV/movie connection, and art & craft activities. The possibilities are endless.

 

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