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Level Checks: what we do

At Dave and Amy English School, we have many returnees and students from other schools.    We do a level check to decide the best lesson for them. 

We check reading, writing, speaking and comprehension.  We have found it’s best to begin easily and steadily challenge the child more.  This allows the child to be comfortable and relaxed.     

First is speaking and comprehension.   We start by checking if the student understands basic questions without looking to Mom for help.    We ask (for example), “When’s your birthday?  What’s your favorite sport?   What do you usually do on Sundays?   What do you like about school?”.   We are looking at accuracy, fluency, longer answers and ability to ask follow up questions.   We begin with the easier questions and progress to the more difficult ones if the child is fine.   We stop before the child feels overwhelmed.   

Next is reading.   This is done very easily with the Dave and Amy Games flashcards.   We begin with CVC Phonics Set A.   Children look only at the question / answer and read (no picture to help)(for example)  What is it?  It’s a cap.   What is it?  It’s a hand?   If the child CAN’T read at all, then we know they are on ABC phonics and stop the reading test.   If the child CAN read 1 flashcard, the child will read 3 – 4 more from set A and if all is read well, level up to set B.    We continue with the same procedure for Set B and C and My English Book and Me 5 flashcards.   If a child struggles, then his reading level is the one below where he struggled.   If he can read My English Book and Me 5 flashcards well, then he’s a good reader and can read at a high level.

After reading is writing.   As many experienced teachers know, writing level is often below reading level.   So once again, we will begin with the lowest level, our ABC phonics text:  My English Book and Me 3.    The student will do one of the test pages from the middle/ end of the text.   If the student can do it well, then we’ll jump to My English Book and Me 4.   We’ll check the child can write 3 letter words looking only at the picture at the beginning of the text, and if all is well, jump to the back of the text and see if they can write longer words like dentist, bucket…. looking only at the picture.   If book 4 proves no challenge, then we’ll try My English Book and Me 5.    If My English Book and Me 3 – 6 are easy, we’ll do tests from English File to determine the most suitable text.

After all of this, we will suggest the best classes for the child to join.  Our lessons are divided by reading ability.   Why?   Because our pair work / group activities often involve reading and speaking.   We want pairs to be able to work together to read and speak.    Children write by themselves.   So, it doesn’t matter that in the same class there will be some students on My English Book and Me 4 and some on My English Book and Me 5.   What does matter is for that the speaking activities, the student can participate fully in reading and speaking with their partner.

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