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Literacy for Grade 4 and 5, Home School

Literacy for Grade 4 and 5

Literacy Level of Your Child

Your child could be at the beginning of Grade 4 in literacy skills, or well into Grade 5. Yet the principles of teaching reading and encouraging writing are still the same.

That is, the child must be extended beyond their present level.

Children’s abilities cover a wide range in the Middle Primary School.

Our Literacy Packs

  • Confirm early knowledge
  • Extend learner’s general knowledge
  • Present new words
  • Bring in more complex sentences and longer words.

How to judge if text is too easy

Teachers encourage students to read quickly, fluently and with expression. But if children are able to read like this the text could be too easy. That means the reading task is equal to or even below their ability. They need more advanced reading material.

More demanding text and two readings

The first reading is to decode the words. Identify who is doing the action,  what action is being done, and  the object of the action.  Children will analyse the action because they know the structure of the language.

The second reading is to confirm comprehension and get an overall picture.

Our lessons are designed to:

  • support earlier learning such as vowel blends  -ea-  and consonant blends such as  -lk
  • extend the reader’s vocabulary
  • the texts extend the child’s knowledge of English grammar by doing the Text Study and other set tasks.

There are also free-standing lessons on English grammar that can be downloaded.

How to help your child

Here are some further hints on how to help your child with the lessons.

  • Try not to prompt a learner when they stop in the middle of a sentence.  They need time to work out the word, so wait.
  • If the child makes a mistake, give a little time and they may self-correct. Self-correcting is a positive sign of reading progress.
  • If the child is still not sure, then help him to ‘sound out’ the parts of the word.

Does your child guess the word?

Problem:  Some children read the first two or three letters and guess the rest. This strategy that children use is due to what teachers often say in the classroom. There is still a bit of  Whole Language Theory in primary school classrooms where children are encouraged to anticipate what the next word will be. This approach has limited use because what they “anticipate” is often quite wrong.

Solution:  Slow down.  Sound Out. Read what is written.

Problem: The habit of guessing what comes next is also encouraged by the idea of reading fast. Good readers in the minds of many children are fast readers. This is conveyed to children when they are encouraged in classrooms to read “with expression” before they have even decoded the text. This is a problem of the cart before the horse.

Solution: To counter these strategies we need to undo them.

No. 1   We need to change the vocabulary we use when teaching children to read. Then, say “Read across the word”. Show the child, using your index finder, how to do it.

For reasons of improving expression, primary school teachers discourage children from pointing to the words as they read. So children often lose track of the line they are on. They also skip words and even insert words.

With “close reading” a child’s standard is challenged. There’s no reason to stop a reader keeping track by pointing to the words. By saying “Read across the word”, and pointing across from under the word, make sure the reader points under, not over it, or on top of it.

No. 2   Another way is to use a wooden ruler so the reader can keep track of the line. A plastic ruler can confuse because it is transparent.

Some children seem to think that reading is something that just happens. Often, they can’t work out why reading is not ‘just happening’ to them. You may need to even pick up your child’s right index finger and show him or her how to use it to help.

Say ‘Read across the word, all the way to the end of the word’.

You need to spell it out and demonstrate.

No. 3   A further reinforcement is to draw a pencil line through a word to separate the syllables.

Say, “Let’s listen to how the sounds are put together”.

Strategies to teaching Literacy

Having read the solutions above, my point is that some children have never been shown these specific methods that are designed to help them read. These apply to children who may not be keeping up.

The layout of our Lessons

  • The writing tasks in these lessons are based around the text.
  • There is a Word Study that follows each text. This reinforces the child’s experience of new vocabulary. It supports the child’s comprehension of word meanings and spelling.
  • The Text Study encourages understanding. The Word Study paves the way for the Text Study.
  • The tasks are logically sequenced and anyone can use the lessons. Logical flow of the lesson and prompts help and there is often an explanation and instructions.
  • Encourage the child to read explanations and instructions aloud and then discuss them. It is important not to skip any activities because each one is important. What the child did in No. 4 could depend on how he handles No. 5. And they are often of progressive difficulty. If your child finds the written work too much for one sitting,  cut the lesson short and do the writing tasks over two or three half-hour sessions.


Many lesson packs don’t have a marking scheme. Your child will benefit from your knowledge of what is right or wrong in his answers. Children benefit more from immediate marking and feedback. So correct the work as you go along or mark it when completed.

In some items there is a checklist to help the student in self-assessment. Grades 3 and 4 will depend on parents or other adults to give them the feedback. It could be in discussion with your child after marking the work together.