PLEASE READ THIS – YOUR CHILD’S 11 PLUS SUCCESS MAY DEPEND ON IT.
Forgive the capitals and the warning, but I’m writing this immediately after a teaching session, in which my very capable student learned a hack and then did something unexpected that your child must not do!
To set the context, I’m including the entire hack here, so you can teach your child and understand the Keyword Dance fully. You’ll hopefully see this is a very practical step that your child can actually do on their own, once you have looked at it together. This is Happy Hack 12 from the instantly downloadable book, Grammar School Success in Multiple Choice English – 59 Easy Ways to Score High in your 11 Plus English Exam. It’s also on kindle at amazon,
as well as being part of a summer learning deal at less than half price.
At the end of the hack, we’ll discuss the unexpected thing my student did. To be clear,
keywords are important words in the question
that tell you exactly what the question wants to look for. Once you have identified these (I show you how in the book, in a separate hack), you have something to look for. Okay, here’s your hack…
Happy Hack 12:
Back and forwards, back and forwards
Do the Keyword Dance!
No, not the keyboard dance, the keyword dance. Get off your computer now, silly.
After you’ve read and spotted and underlined keywords in the question and the writing, do the Keyword Dance as you attack each question. Here’s how:
1. Find the question keyword or phrase in the passage.
2. Read the whole sentence the word is in.
3. Read a sentence or two before it (Back).
4. Read a sentence or two after it (Forwards).
Doing this is sometimes enough to find the information you need to answer correctly.
Say you want to answer the question:
Q. How do the people near the tiger feel?
d) Really tired because they’ve been running away from it all day.
Your gut, common sense brain might think terrified is the most appropriate answer – it’s a tiger after all. But wait, do the keyword dance.
You look for the word ‘tiger’. You find it. Great, but it doesn’t tell you enough yet. Read before and after to find out about the special world this word lives in.
Is the tiger in a zoo? In the wild? About to eat its lunch? Shopping in Asda? Only a pretend tiger, really it’s your teacher dressed up for charity? This will make a huge difference to your answer.
What happens if the Keyword Dance doesn’t work?
Maybe the keyword is in more than one place. You’d expect to find the word ‘tiger’ a few times in an article about tigers, wouldn’t you? Maybe the first place you find it is telling you what tigers eat. Not what you are looking for.
Just look for the keyword somewhere else, along with other keywords in the question. In the question above, we could be looking for the word ‘near’ as well, or a phrase like it, e.g. close to.
TIP: Quite often, we need two keywords to be together to find the right answer.
This is one way the answers try to trick you, by giving you one keyword and hoping it will turn you into a Rushie.
No, thank you.
Each time you find the keyword or words, do the dance – before the word, after the word, then the sentence before, the sentence after, occasionally two sentences before and after.
It’s only one hack of many, yet it’s one of the most helpful in finding the info you need to answer the question.
…Okay, welcome back to the blog post. You can see that keywords are amazingly helpful. In the lesson I was giving this morning, we were rehearsing a couple of hacks, one of which was the Keyword Dance. The question asked why the bay was good for fishing boats. The paragraph that we were asked to look at had lots of info about types of fish, types of boats, types of fishermen, as well as info on the weather and time of day. My student explored the paragraph twice, but was adamant that he couldn’t find the answer.
Why? This is what he did – he didn’t look even once for the keyword: bay. He was confused by all the info, felt there was too much, became sidetracked with the similarity of fishing boats with fisherman and fish, and was thrown off course by the weather info.
I asked him to go back to the question. What was the one word that was most important – what did the question actually want him to know? He looked again: “Aaah, BAY!” he yelled. Immediately, he found that word, which only appeared once in the paragraph, did the keyword dance and found the answer – the bay was sheltered.
So simple, if you actually use the hack. If you actually look for the keywords. Otherwise, you’ve wasted seconds underlining keywords that can’t help you even though they want to because you don’t use them.
Two large, lovely lessons from today that absolutely work as a team:
- Teach your child the Keyword Dance. Practise it in your practice papers.
- Children – USE IT. Actually look for the words that matter. You are not trying to answer a random question – the questions are very specific. Find the keywords in the question you are answering and find them again in the text. The answer will be there, promise!
Was this blog post helpful? You can sign up to the blog for free to keep yourself informed of more tips. There are lots more (58 more, as you will have worked out from the title of the book!) happy hacks waiting to help your child reach their highest mark in Grammar School Success in Multiple Choice English – 59 Easy Ways to Score High in your 11 Plus English Exam. You can buy it alone, or as part of the crazy summer learning deal, which gives you all four books in the series for better than half-price.
Thank you for investing your time in these words and thank you for nurturing your child’s Great Eleven Plus Moment!
Stay happy, Lee