Good literacy skills are really important to help you to achieve your best in all of your subjects.
Good literacy skills will help you to read exam questions and understand exactly what the question is asking you to do.
Good literacy skills will also help you to construct better answers to exam questions and achieve marks available for correct use of key terms, spelt correctly.
Literacy skills cover many things including spelling, punctuation, use of connectives and writing in paragraphs.
There are many strategies to help you to spell words correctly, such as mnemonics, letter patterns, word in a word, anagrams and testing yourself regularly.
Example of a mnemonic
Example of letter patterns
Example of word in a word
There is a rat in separate.
Example of anagrams
Setting yourself anagrams means that you have to look really carefully at the letters in the word. A clue by the side will help you to think of the word if you stuck.
tlsaa (book) = atlas
bnura (city as opposed to country) = urban
pprncattiiioe (cats and dogs) = precipitation
Test yourself regularly
It is really important that you regularly test yourself to see if you can spell key words for each subject. The best way to do this is to use the look, say, cover, write, check method.
1b. Spelling homophones
Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different spellings. They can be really tricky to spell correctly. Try using diagrams to help you to remember the spelling. For example……
Spot the incorrectly spelt homophones
There are 17 mistakes in this paragraph. Can you spot them all?
It was the last weak of the holidays. James was not aloud to go too the beech on his own, but he was board and wanted to play in the see. He sneaked down the stares and threw the back door. He rowed his bike to the sure, but it began to rein. The wind blue threw his hare and he turned round and road back with all his mite.
According to The Penguin Guide to Punctuation, “The problem with poor punctuation is that it makes life difficult for the reader who needs to read and understand what you’ve written.”
This would include your teacher and examiners.
For example, try to make sense of this paragraph without any punctuation.
we are going to learn today about the importance of punctuation there are lots of different forms of punctuation including apostrophes brackets commas and full stops having good punctuation enables the text to be read more easily and for the writer show which parts of the text are more important than others
Apostrophes can be used to show the omission of a letter, or letters or possession. For example:
Omission of a letter or letters
do not = don’t
he is = he’s
you have = you’ve
they will = they’ll
had not = hadn’t
I am = I’m
they would = they’d
The dog’s tail.
Joe’s father was at work.
The car’s battery was dead.
James’ new shoes.
James’s new shoes.
Brackets and pairs of commas
Brackets and pairs of commas can be used to add additional information to a sentence. It is not the most important information and the writer does not want to distract you from the key point. For example:
We agreed to meet on my birthday (23rd July) outside the cinema.
Photosynthesis uses light energy (from the sun) to react water and carbon dioxide together.
Tom, who was the captain of the team, was a very brave player.
Respiration, a process that occurs in every cell of the body, releases energy.
Connectives allow you to link different ideas together in the same sentence. This can either be a fact with an explanation or a fact with a consequence. For example:
When should you start a new paragraph?
It is often useful to begin paragraphs with a topic sentence. This prepares the reader for the main idea(s) in the paragraph.
They also help us to find a particular section again. If we know what part we wish to re-read, we can skim down the page reading the topic sentences.
For example if you were writing an answer to the question, “explain why alternative energy resources are needed” the topic sentences could be:
You can develop a paragraph by:
Good paragraphs should have a mixture of sentence structures.
It may be appropriate to use the PEEEL structure in a paragraph:
P – Point
E – Evidence
E – Explain
E – Extend
L – Link back