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We’re big fans of the National Geographic magazines here at Winterwood, and advise all our students to purchase a subscription. Exploring global issues and spanning a huge range of topics, articles are well-written but also inspiring and thought-provoking. They introduce students to advanced vocabulary that they can begin to incorporate into their own writing, as well as encouraging them to expand their understanding of the world. Every magazine is also a font of beautiful photography, helping visual learners to access the written content and fascinating generation after generation of readers.

A lot of parents ask us for guidance on how to help ensure children get the most out of their reading, so below are a few questions you can ask them to complete:

1. What is the article about? Give a 1-5 sentence summary of the topic and the argument being made (remember, the topic and the argument are not the same thing)

2. Type up a list of 10-20 words used in the article that you don’t recognise, and look up/ record definitions for these.

3. Pick out five similes or examples of metaphoric language, and explain each.

(e.g. “The Western gateway to Madidi is Pelucho, a small Andean town hemmed in by intimidating peaks wreathed with cloud”. The peaks are described as intimidating because it makes them sound frightening, but also as if huge monsters or gangsters are staring down on the town, bullying and terrorizing them. It makes the town sound vulnerable and under threat. “Wreathed” makes them sound as if they have been decorated with cloud, as if it is has been twisted around the mountains like a garland or headdress. It emphasises how beautiful the clouds look around the mountains.)

4. Choose one of the pictures from the article and describe it. Ensure that you describe the subject matter, colours, materials, textures, and how the image makes you feel. Remember to use interesting verbs, adverbs and adjectives where possible. Write at least five sentences, and remember that this is a visual not a factual description.

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