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9 Eleven-Plus Books Every Parent Should Read

19/06/2023 / 11+ Tuition

If your child is getting ready to sit the 11-plus exam, you may be wondering how you can help them feel confident and prepared for this milestone. Fortunately, for parents, there are a few things you can do to make the journey easier, and a great start is reading a range of eleven-plus books to help them study.

Understanding what’s required in the 11 plus provides you with the tools and knowledge to help your child study relevant information that may appear in the exam. So, what are the best eleven-plus books to read?

Below, we look at study books recommended by academia and typical reading lists for the 11-plus exam that will support your child’s comprehension.

Study books to improve 11-plus exam comprehension skills

A great starting point for parents is to read study books that focus on the different aspects of the exam. For example, there are various resources for comprehension, maths and vocabulary. Each of these areas helps you to build upon the knowledge you already have and hone it for your child’s exam.

Different locations may have slightly different exam formats, but overall the content is similar no matter where you live. So, the below books may come in handy.

11+ Essentials English Mini Comprehensions: Inference by Eleven Plus Exams

In the 11-plus exam, it’s common to test inference skills. This means examining the child’s ability to read a short passage and interpret the information. However, it’s not just a case of being able to read, it involves reading between the lines of the passage and giving an answer.

In a typical 11-plus test, the child may face around 20% of comprehension questions, which include inference-style passages. So, this book solely focuses on inference to help them master the concept.

In this particular book, there are 50 extracts or passages and 300 questions relating to them. It’s also part of a series of books that cover different aspects of the comprehension section of the 11-plus exam.

11+ Maths Revision Guide by Louise Martine

This is an excellent book for parents that want to help children revise for the maths section of the exam. The author covers a wide range of topics for the 11-plus syllabus and stretches the content to provide extra help and understanding. There is a handy section on worded maths problems. As you work through the book, there are small tests and a larger one at the end to consolidate your knowledge.

Maths is often a sticking point for parents as, let’s face it, most people haven’t picked up a mathematics textbook since school. So, reading this and understanding the content while working with your child is beneficial for explaining different problems and helping make solutions simple to understand.

The 11+ Vocabulary Word Search Extravaganza by The Armadillo’s Pillow Ltd

Making learning fun is always a great way to engage children, which is why this book hits the spot for vocabulary revision. It’s an ideal option for the 11-plus exam but can also be used for Year 6 SATS prep as it goes beyond the standard word search. This puzzle book is a great way to work alongside your child to build upon synonyms and antonyms. There are also definitions of keywords and concepts, plus tons more.

This book offers a slightly different approach to learning and is particularly helpful for students that find standard revision challenging. In short, the more fun something is, the more likely they will be able to recall the information in an exam situation.

Reading list for 11-plus exams

A significant part of finding success in the 11-plus exams is reading. Reading opens up a child’s understanding, reasoning skills and vocabulary. Plus, it also prepares them for the verbal reasoning and English section on the test.

For the exam, it’s best to encourage a variety of texts that will help them with this element. It’s also helpful for parents to read recommended eleven-plus books to assist with revision and general understanding.

There are many eleven-plus books a child and parent can read – we’ve compiled a list of texts that are suitable for any gender. There’s a mix of modern and classic books to suit different preferences. Let’s take a look at some of the favourites:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Most adults will know this well-known read, and perhaps you’ve already read it yourself in your younger years. However, it’s a great example for the 11-plus exam as the storyline follows a group of farm animals that plot to rebel against humans running the farm. This book is based on the Russian Revolution and has several political connotations, which is particularly interesting for children that have an interest in history and politics.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

This book is a classic children’s storybook and is a great addition to the eleven-plus books list. It tells the tale of a pig named Wilbur who befriends a spider called Charlotte and they form an unlikely friendship. In this tale, the story covers aspects such as friendship, responsibility, life and death. It also has elements of humour and standing up for what you believe. This provides a popular and much-loved read for children and helps develop an understanding of language and literature in a fun and warming way.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

If you haven’t read the book, you may have seen the film – and what an emotional, lovely story it is. Goodnight Mister Tom is an ideal eleven-plus book to add to your list. It captures a range of emotions through the words and story of a young evacuee during World War II and the man he lives with during this time. The two form a friendship as Mister Tom helps Willie Beech experience life outside London and the war unfolding in the capital.

High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson

For children that like modern texts, this book is a great option to open up reading skills. The story is set in summer and involves a murder mystery, which two children set out to solve over the holidays. There are several twists and turns in the book, and it’s ideal for engaging kids with a fun and who-did-it type of story. Parents often love this tale too, so it could be a fun way to read with your child.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Another classic to add to your list is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. While you may have seen the film, it’s a great idea to immerse yourself and your child in this fantasy tale in the land of Narnia. The book takes the characters through a wardrobe to discover a magical land, the eternal winter of Narnia’s land, and all the creatures imprisoned by the White Witch. Many children find this story a simple read and find themselves captured by its magic, making it a great way to develop reading and comprehension skills.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

This tale of mystery and adventure is another modern text to add to the eleven-plus books list. In the story, the brother and sister try to solve the disappearance of their cousin who vanished from the London Eye. This tale also opens up the reader to the character and attributes of Ted, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. The language and inclusivity of this book help the reader develop a deeper understanding of how this helps uncover clues to ultimately find his cousin.

Other eleven-plus books that can help with comprehension, language and vocabulary skills:

• Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden
• I am David by Anne Holm
• The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
• Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman
• White Fang by Jack London
• Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling
• Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll
• The 1,000-year-old Boy by Ross Welford

Helping your child prepare for the 11-plus exam

There are hundreds of books suitable for the 11-plus exam, but reading just a few will help parents understand and assist with revision techniques and strategies. If you need any more guidance, qualified teachers can recommend the best eleven-plus books suitable for improving reading skills and practising exam questions.

Reading specific texts to help your child encourages engagement and communication between you and boosts your understanding of what your child will face in the test. However, hiring an 11-plus tutor is beneficial if your child requires additional support in this area.

At Principal Tutors, all our 11-plus tutors are qualified teachers with training and experience in enhancing a child’s success in the 11-plus exams. Sessions are available online for your convenience, and all children are matched with a tutor based on their specific requirements.

Want to learn more about what we cover? Call our team on 0800 772 0974 or request an online tutor today.


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