It never fails to astound me how students never realise how this one simple tip can make all the difference to their GCSE English grades. It’s very effective.
What is that tip? Well, it’s READING on a regular basis. Even ten minutes a day can dramatically influence the grades you receive.
Why is this? GCSE English has changed a great deal recently. There are now two papers. One is based on creative writing or fiction and the other is based on non-fiction writing.
On Paper 1 candidates are required to answer questions based on a writer’s craft; language, form and structure. They then must produce a piece of their own creative writing; descriptive or narrative.
On Paper 2 candidates are required to look at two pieces of writing from different centuries and compare the main ideas. They must then produce their own piece of non-fiction writing, either writing to argue, inform or persuade.
As I always say to my students, you wouldn’t go in for a cookery programme on television such as the Bake Off, unless you had practised baking over a long period of time. You wouldn’t sit a piano exam unless you had already spent time playing the piano. In the same way, you cannot sit and do well at English Language GCSE unless you have read regularly from a range of texts.
I’m not saying that you must spend every day reading those voluminous tomes of Harry Potter. You need to find something to read that you enjoy and will want to spend time reading, without it appearing to be a chore.
Find out what you feel passionately about. If you love sport, then how about reading the BBC Sport News pages every day?
If you like YouTubers, then consider reading some of their books such as Girl Online or books on making videos?
If you love reality stars, then they are always bringing our books to read about their lives.
If you like baking, then read about the different cuisines of different cultures.
You don’t just need to read books. Many people might think that with our heavy reliance on technology today, there is no longer a need to read. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is because of technology, that we now have access to a much wider range of reading material and there are more demands on us to read every day. The online world really is your oyster for reading. So many websites and devices to choose from. You can download books onto your phone and it often costs very little to do this. But don’t forget about newspapers, magazines and even audio books and the Argos catalogue.
Find the hook and then you will be amazed how soon your reading skills develop.
Give it a go. You really will not regret it.
Coming Soon : Book recommendations for Teenagers!