Monday, 09 October 2017

Reluctant Readers

Reluctant Readers

Some children love books and take to reading like a duckling to water. Most however, are not so enthusiastic and some shun the whole experience entirely.

Reading is an essential skill so it is imperative that children learn to read yet, like learning any skill, reading requires practice. If not approached correctly reading “practice” can quickly become a boring bit of the day and the reluctant reader will disengage from learning.

How Can I Help?

At the moment you are probably sitting there, scratching your head, thinking “How can I read more with my reluctant reader whilst at the same time not pressuring them into reading and turning reading into a chore?”

The answer is quite simple – make it part of your daily routine. Children are so receptive to learning that they learn from repetition and copying as much, if not more, than they learn from formally being taught new skills.

DO Try This At Home

Share a book at bedtime or some other relaxed time of the day. It doesn't have to be a long book. Allow your child to choose one that they are interested in. You might be bored stiff at the thought of reading another book about how cars work, but if your child is enthused by cars they will be more inclined to work towards being able to read about them than if they are reading a book, chosen by an adult, that doesn't inspire them.

Let your child watch TV – but turn on the subtitles. Repeated words – for example names and catchphrases – will begin to sink in. This stimulates matching phonemes to graphemes (sounds to words).

When you go shopping read out all the signs on aisles and labels on packets. If your child wants, let them tick items off the shopping list. You can even turn it into a game by splitting the list and seeing who ticks everything off their half first.

Be positive (even if you don't feel positive). When you are listening to your child read make sure to praise all their attempts. Set aside enough time that you aren't clock-watching and avoid saying things like “I know you can do this” or “you've done this before”. Learning isn't a linear process so sometimes your child could do something yesterday that they are finding hard today. Instead, reiterate what they need to be able to succeed e.g. “that looks like an apple so it must be the letter…..a”

How VAKS Encourages Reluctant Readers

Here at VAKS we use Ruth Miskin Phonics to promote a multi-sensory approach to learning. By using small group teaching we can guide every child through their individual learning journey as they progress through our literacy programme.

There's only so much that we can do in a single session and to maximise the benefits it is essential that your child reads – or is exposed to reading – as much as possible at home.

For more information Click Here

Wednesday, 11 January 2017



Year 11 pupils sitting exams in 2017 will be the first to be examined under the new 9-1 course for most subjects. How will this affect your child?

The MOCK exams are over and many pupils feel that they have not reached the expected grade. Tensions are running high and pupils are feeling more anxious than ever before trying to cram in enough revision before May whilst still not having learned all of the curriculum content.

DO NOT WORRY…… VAKS revision courses and weekly tuition are designed to support pupils from January right through until the Summer exams.

The new grade boundaries mean that it is harder than ever to reach the grades. This has been a huge change for teachers to manage and unfortunately it is the students who have felt the stress of these changes. VAKS had already planned in 2016 for these intended curriculum changes and our students have been supported throughout year 10 and year 11 to ensure that they have covered the core changes within each subject.


  • Begin by making a timetable- this will organise the remaining weeks and give students realistic goals to work towards
  • Don’t avoid the workload-it won’t go away and will lead to further stress!
  • Refine your learning- assess the gaps in by doing past papers.
  • Eliminate distractions. Don’t think that you can study with a device in your working space. It is a constant source of distraction.
  • Reward yourself- When you know that you have worked for a sustained period of time, do something enjoyable that will help you to relax.
  • Eat well and Get enough sleep- This is crucial!


Working through past papers and marking them every week is VITAL. This is the number one reason why GCSE pupils who attend VAKS centres do so well in their exams. Without working through papers, the student and teacher CAN NOT assess exactly where strengths and weaknesses lie. The students who take OWNERSHIP of this and spend time marking their paper are INFORMED and IN CONTROL of their learning At VAKS we help them to reach this crucial point in their learning. It is natural for pupils to feel that they do not yet feel ready to do papers as they have not yet learned all the content. In fact, THE OPPOSITE is true. IT CAN BUILD CONFIDENCE.


Our teachers find that the greatest difficulty facing GCSE pupils is that they are not organised with their learning timetable and are unable to work consistently through their revision. This is due to many reasons:

Teachers at school do not teach pupils how to actually revise and learn. At VAKS we teach this as part of our weekly programme. LEARNING HOW TO LEARN and to spend time working effectively is crucial during the GCSE journey.

For parents and pupils this is a minefield. For some guidance on how to download past papers and organise them efficiently call one of our GCSE mums for their advice on 0800 404 8172 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For information about our weekly tuition or our revision courses:
Click Here

Tuesday, 02 August 2016


The effect of these changes will be to make English more demanding. Students will need to be much better prepared. To do well they will need strong skills in writing, in language analysis and in understanding poetry and literature texts.

Our experience at VAKS shows that students who receive on-going tuition over the whole GCSE course, from the beginning of Year 10 through to the examinations at the end of Year 11, have a much better chance of success. The weaker a student’s present skills are, the more this long-term on-going support is needed. Students who start early develop the strongest foundation: they can face the examinations with confidence and with the skills to succeed.

FREE Educational Assessment

So that you can be sure VAKS is right for you and your child, a free assessment is available with no obligation to continue.
Click Here to find out more

Some information about the bringing forward of 2016 GCSE and A-level examiniations.
How can we improve grades dramatically in such a short space of time?
4 very simple pieces of advice that will help your child overcome procrastination.
Monday, 16 November 2015


Our new Secret Teacher gives you the inside scoop on Homework – why it’s given and how you can help…

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Every parent knows that their child is capable of amazing things – but how do we unlock their potential? VAKS has four easy things that YOU can do every day to maximise your child’s education.

Try thinking about two things at once. Are you actually thinking about them both at once or are you flicking between the two? Keep trying. Next thing you know, it’s five minutes later and you’ve barely covered any of those things in any detail.

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