New tests for 11 year-olds revealed

Education secretary Michael Gove has revealed new tests in literacy for 11 year-olds, an article in the Telegraph indicated yesterday.

The new exam, which is more focused, will assess pupils on correct use of punctuation, appropriate grammar usage including knowledge of nouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions and the correct use of tenses and pronouns such as “I” and “me”. The tests will form part of the ‘writing’ component of Sats alongside existing teacher assessments of pupils’ written composition skills.

Read more in the Telegraph article online here.

Helping children to read

One school library in Hertfordshire has taken steps to help improve children’s reading abilities, in a recent article in The Guardian.

For those students that we judged to need the most amount of help, we produced a literacy equivalent of an individual education plan (IEP). We use this with the form tutor, English teacher and parents to highlight certain strategies that can be used to help the student make the required progress.

Types of intervention and ideas range from the use of iPads, Kindles and other electronic devices to the use of blogs, guided reading, literacy leaders and the teaching of specific reading skills.

Using a Kindle, for example, is great for weaker readers who may have trouble reading a book with a double page spread – even if they are not dyslexic. If you watch a weaker reader read their eyes tend to wander off the sentence or even the paragraph. This is the same with a word they have noticed at the bottom of the page which they are worrying about. They either skip it or don’t concentrate in anticipation for a word they know they will struggle with. This inhibits fluency as well as comprehension but with the Kindle being able to enlarge the text lowers the chances of this happening and so helps to increase fluency and comprehension and of course, confidence.

Read the full article here.

Welcome Year R Parents!

“Research shows that reading is the single most important thing you can do to help your child’s education”

Confused by Phonics? Not sure how to help with reading at home? You need:


A Guide to Understanding & Reinforcing School Teaching Methods at Home

This guide has been written by a parent for anybody who has children in Reception or Infant Classes at school. It includes an introduction to helping your child to read, an outline of methods of teaching reading in primary schools and suggestions of ways to reinforce these methods at home.

There are also Department for Education Guides on this subject:

and help from the BBC:

Phonics International have a free resource including videos of how to pronounce phonemes:

or find lots more useful stuff in our Literacy section:

and remember:

“Make it fun and if they aren’t enjoying it, try something else”

Happy Reading!

National Literacy Trust research makes alarming reading

As reported in yesterday’s Education section of The Guardian, a recent survey by the National Literacy Trust makes for very grim reading.

BooksA survey of over eighteen thousand children, aged between 8 – 17, reveals that 19% have never been given a book as a present, 12% had never set foot in a bookshop, and 7% had never been to a library.

Of the materials they read, most are likely to read ‘e-mails and websites than comics.’

Combined with recent or planned closures of local libraries across the country, this makes for an alarming view of our children’s literary culture.

The National Literacy Trust said “fresh approaches” were urgently needed to encourage young people to read more. “The number of children who never read a book suggests the government has a huge challenge on its hands if the 50 books-a-year initiative is to reach every child,” it said. Last year, a major international study of children’s reading revealed British children had fallen from 17th to 25th place in the world.

Read the full article here.

On-line literacy resources: Bookstart

Continuing our series looking at useful on-line literacy and reading resources: this week, Bookstart.

Bookstart logoWith a tagline of ‘Inspiring a love of books in every child,’ the Bookstart website is a lively and colourful site offering some terrific resources to engage children.

There’s a great ‘Have Some Fun‘ section, with rhymes and stories, jigsaw, on-line colouring pages, virtual eBooks including ‘The boy on the bus‘ and ‘Some Dogs Do,’ with songs and sound effects and virtual page-turning, and activities to download.

There is also a guide offering help with finding the right book to share with a child, and a section to apply for a free Bookstart pack and Treasure Chest.

It also happens to be counting down to ‘National Bookstart Week’ which runs from Monday 6 – Sunday 12 June.

Click to open up the world of Bookstart.

Online literacy resources: Reading for Life

Reading for Life is a packed and colourful website full of useful resources, including on-line e-stories for children, word searches, and activities to download, including activity sheets based on popular characters such as the Gruffalo, Maisy, Charlie and Lola and Winnie the Witch.

Reading for Life logoThere are also ‘Recommended Reads’ for different age-groups (including 13+), and a column of tips and advice on the benefits of reading and how to encourage it in children.

Click here to visit.