We had our children’s learning conversations last night (parents’ evening for us oldies!). I’m proud as anything of my two babies but, being a worrier, I don’t just smile and move on.
This morning I ordered half a dozen workbooks on handwriting, grammar, comprehension, and spelling. They’re not for me, although they probably should be.
It turns out the new curriculum has new targets for grammar, punctuation and spelling and Year 2 (my daughter’s year) are having to play catch up.
I won’t get on my high horse about changes to the curriculum. I’ll save that for people more eloquent than me. And in principle I like that my daughter is learning grammar and punctuation. I wasn’t taught it once I moved schools (age 8) and have struggled ever since. When I started writing novels seven years ago, the first thing I had to do was learn how to use commas and what an adverb was.
My daughter comes home and tells me about adverbs. She ‘VCOPs’ her own writing (underlines the vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation – see picture). It is a level of sophistication in writing that I don’t see in some bestsellers.
But here’s the thing. My daughter is being taught to use adverbs (mostly words ending in ly) and alternatives to said (think shouted, whispered, argued, complained). These are two elements of my writing that I have fought against for the last five years.
Any book on self-editing tells you to kill the adverbs and just use ‘said’. The emphasis is on vivid verbs and simple dialogue with use of body posture and behaviour to show emotion.
Of course we’re talking about writing for six year olds that will understand ‘walked slowly’ rather than ‘ambled’. I love that they are teaching dynamic writing and my daughter loves it. But, as an author it hurts!
So I’ll read the books, I’ll learn the KS1 curriculum, and I’ll keep my views on adverbs (mostly) to myself! 🙂 Who knows, if I print out the VCOP pyramid I might make my own writing stronger.