Special needsEnglish - Ages 11-14
A high proportion of my bottom Year 8 English set have special needs and weak literacy skills.
A good pre-reading starter activity is to give pairs of pupils a picture from a book to be studied and ask them to suggest three questions about what might be happening.
I recently did this in preparation for Romeo and Juliet, using the scene where the prince stops the fight in the city square.
Some of the questions pupils asked were: "Why are the men wearing tights? Who is the man in the middle? Why do the people look angry? Are the people rich or poor?" The pupils wrote their questions on Post-it Notes and stuck them on the wall.
By the end of the lesson, after studying the prologue, most questions were answered.
Veronica Ashton is deputy senco at West Hatch High School in Essex.