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A critical analysis of the use of language and presentational features, within two texts, written for children.

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Introduction

Introduction This report requires a critical analysis of the use of language and presentational features, within two texts, written for children. A further report will follow to show how one of these texts could be used in the classroom. Chosen Text The two texts chosen for analysis are The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and Hairy Maclary's Rumpus at the Vet by Lynley Dodd. Marcus Pfister, a Swiss author, published 'The Rainbow Fish' in 1992, which is his best-known book to date. His work is famous for the graphics that he uses. Lynley Dodd, a New Zealand Author published 'Rumpus at the Vet in 1989, which is part of a series of the 'Hairy Maclary' books. I chose these two books after reading them to a year two class with amazing response from the children. Although the class reacted well to both books, their response was different to each book. During the reading of The Rainbow Fish, the children made noises of pleasure as they looked at the pictures. They also showed signs of sadness and delight as the story progressed from The Rainbow Fish not having any friends, to making many new friends. When reading 'Rumpus at the Vet', the children found the story, which is told in verse, very amusing. Both books are aimed at younger children, but I imagine very young children and older ones would love these stories too. Style of the books The colourful illustrations and shiny paper caught the children's eye in 'The Rainbow Fish'. The story tells of a beautiful fish that loved to be admired. The beautiful fish meets a smaller fish who wants one of his shiny scales, and the Rainbow Fish will not give him one. As a result, the other fish will not play with him. The Rainbow Fish then becomes lonely and decides to give the small fish one of his scales. ...read more.

Middle

The teacher should work with a group of children to assist them with any problems that occur. From time to time, the teacher should make sure that the rest of the class is on task and are not having any problems. For the pupils that finish early, an extension activity could be provided. This could be that they write a list of adverbs of time that could be used in a story, with the aid of a dictionary or thesaurus. The Plenary The children could come back as a group for the plenary. As a group, the class could discuss reasons for events that happen in the Rainbow Fish story, or the stories that they have written, by cause and effect. Some of the pupils could read their stories out to the rest of the class and the audience could note plural endings and adverbs that have been used. Assessing Speaking and Listening Skills This report shows how children can be assessed on their speaking and listening skills. The National Curriculum (1999 p44) states that "pupils learn to speak clearly, thinking about the needs of their listeners" in key stage 1. These skills appear to be often overlooked due to constant testing of reading and writing achievements. In addition, it can be difficult to show concrete evidence of speaking and listening skills. However, I feel that more emphasis should be placed on developing these skills to achieve a more holistic approach to the curriculum. To investigate the possibilities of how assessments can be carried out and recorded, it was necessary to study EN1 speaking and listening, programme of study in the National Curriculum. This document stresses that pupils should join in during group discussion and participate in a range of drama activities in different circumstances. So that a better understanding of how children develop these skills, it was required to study two pupils over a period to see how speaking and listening plays a part in their school life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pupil 'B' took her turn to read and listened when it was the others turn. During the discussion part of the session, she contributed well and put her hand up when she wanted to speak. Attainment Target 1: Speaking and Listening Assessing pupil 'A' I would suggest he was the low end of level one. This is because he could talk about immediate things, conveying simple meaning to subjects that interested him, and could sometimes listen to others such as in assembly time. Although his sentences were very short and incomplete when chatting to his friends in the playground, he showed that he could talk properly in assembly. I feel that this is because of his home life and his family generally talk in this manner at home. I think that he could extend his ideas and accounts of occasions if guided by an adult. I would assess pupil 'B' as a definite level two. She started to show confidence when speaking and appeared to listen at appropriate times. She used good intonation while speaking in circle time and this is a factor in suggesting she is a level two. Although these assessments were only taken over a few weeks, I am aware that pupil 'B's' vocabulary has grown over the year and this is another factor when awarding level two. When she becomes more confident speaking to an audience and more evidence of listening skills are found, she may be a level three. Conclusion My observations showed that assessment of speaking and listening do not appear to be carried out fully, with appropriate records kept. It was difficult to ascertain if there were any gender differences as their personal lives were so different and insufficient pupils to make an accurate evaluation. The assessments that I made were carried out over a period of two weeks. Therefore, it would be difficult to assess the children properly. However, the assessments were carried out to the best of my ability during the given time allowed. I found the observations valuable and will endeavour to carry out full assessments when I am a Qualified Teacher. ...read more.

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