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Top 5 Tips To Identify Your Child’s Literacy Gaps

We have all had a good go at wearing the teacher hat during the last year of virtual learning from home, so by now, you may be familiar with your child's learning gaps. Or you may not!

So here are my top 5 tips on how you can continue to check your child's literacy gaps quickly and with ease:

Top 5 Tips To Identify Your Child’s Literacy Gaps

- Let them take a reading or writing quiz

You may think that the teacher is the only one that can provide well-structured quizzes for your child, but since remote learning and the surge of homeschool parents, there is a high demand for quick transferrable resources that you can access at home as well as in school.

There are so many great websites and resources out there at your disposal.

For example, provides great quizzes for KS1 - GCSE students (5 - 17years old). Also, not only in literacy but across the curriculum of subjects.

The quizzes can help them identify their strengths and weakness in different areas in literacy and beyond! Also, it is a great icebreaker before they start their reading or writing task.

So give it a go! You will not be disappointed, and the best thing is, some of the quizzes are free!

You can also take advantage of the paid subscription where you can get more in-depth quizzes which is only £9.99 a month or £49.99 a year!

- Monitor their progress report from their teacher or tutor

If your child is in school or they have a home school tutor, you can access their overall report, and this could be a recent reading or writing assessment they have completed.

It is important to see a few of their assessments to identify a clear pattern in work.

Whether you speak to their teacher or tutor, they will be able to provide some valuable feedback about your child's progress in their literacy.

- Ask them questions about their literacy work

I talk about this a lot, but it is so important to ask them what do they think is going well, and if there are any areas they need to work on.

Sometimes you may get an I don't know, but you may get a concise answer that might help you focus on that area so you are both on the same page.

Communication is the key.

- Try the 5 finger rule

This is a quick and easy way to assess if they are reading the right book for their reading level. This can be done by yourself or your child.

So to start, all you need to do is:

  1. Pick a book.

  2. Open the book to any page.

  3. Put one finger up for each word they do not know, or can't pronounce.

If they put:

  • 0-1 fingers up - The book is too easy

  • 1 - 2 fingers up - It is the perfect level for your child

  • 3 - 4 fingers up - Give the book a try

  • 5 - The book is too hard

- Get them to self assess their writing skills

It is always useful to have a guide at home, so when your child has completed a writing task they can mark it independently.

Why not try the marking criteria below that can be relevant to any reading or writing task they have to complete.

Reading - Comprehension/analyse:

CF: Clear focus in the answer and referring back to the question with the use of paragraphs.

E: Adding evidence (quote) from the text to support your answer.

AQ: Analysing the quote.

WT: Mentioning the writing technique that is used in the chosen quote.

E: Explaining your answer in more detail and referring back to the question.

Z: Zoom into a word in the quote and explaining what does it tell the reader.

ER: What effect do all these examples have on the reader?

WM: What is the writer's message?

Writing - Describe/narrate:

AV: Using ambitious vocabulary - words that are not usually used E.g instead of the word excited - use the word 'elated'

AP: Ambitious punctuation - punctuation that is used to create a particular effect or emotion E.g question marks, hyphens, ellipsis

WT: Using a variety of writing techniques E.g alliteration, similes, personification, metaphors, etc.

SO: Using sentence openers E.g Cautiously, suddenly, etc.

S: Using a variety of sentence structures E.g Simple, compound, complex.

SP: Spelling

P: Punctuation

G: Grammar

PLEASE NOTE: This is just a sample of skills for reading and writing, so doesn't include all of them

So to conclude:

Top 5 Tips To Identify Your Child’s Literacy Gaps

- Let them take a reading or writing quiz - Monitor their progress report from their teacher or tutor - Ask them questions about their literacy work

- Try the 5 finger rule

- Get them to self assess their writing skills

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