Digital Schools Awards Scotland Digital Schools Awards Scotland

Larkhall Academy

Parent information

You may be aware that the Support for Learning department operates a range of supports to help pupils with their literacy.

Scotland Reads

One of these is the Scotland Reads programme, which runs from September to April at registration for selected pupils.

Here S6 pupils read with younger pupils, mainly S1, to support and improve their reading. Over the last few years pupils participating in this evidence based programme have made significant increases in their reading ages.

This is a straightforward approach that can be used to support your child in the house.

  • Sit side by side in a comfortable location.
  • Start by reading together.
  • Match your reading pace to that of your child.
  • When you have finished reading ask questions about the text.
  • Should be ten minutes every day.
  • If a mistake is made allow 4 seconds for your child to correct it themselves then correct it.
  • Ask them to read the corrected word.
  • Use lots of praise e.g. Good effort , fantastic, well done, brilliant, good job.
  • If your child wishes to read aloud alone they simply tap the table or say to you ‘I want to read myself now’.

You can watch an example of paired reading in action below along with a parental advice leaflet. 

 Selecting the right book

Use your fingers to help gauge reading levels

Your child should be able to read around 90% of the words in a book to ensure that they are reading at an improving rate. A simple way of doing this is to use the very straightforward five finger technique.


Open the book, get your child to put their open hand on the page and read the words at each finger; repeat this on a different page.

If your child can read all the words it is too easy. If they can read 8-9 or words then it’s just right and if they can read 7 or below then its too hard and you should pick another book.

 Hi—Lo Readers


If your child is a struggling or reluctant reader then Hi-Lo readers are a very good way of supporting them. These books are written to be of high interest but for pupils with a low reading age. They tend to be:

  • shorter,
  • have larger text size,
  • less complicated vocabulary,
  • are often printed on off white paper to reduce glare,
  • may have pictures to support understanding.

A wide range of these books is available in the school library and are located in our Scotland Reads section. Pupils participating in this programme will have access to these books on a daily basis and they can be borrowed from the library on Mondays and Tuesdays when Mr Doig, our  Librarian, is in the school.

We would recommend ‘Read On’ books from Collins Educational Publishers. You can buy these from Amazon by searching for :

“Read On Collins Educational”

There are a range of fiction and non fiction titles available from this publisher. They also come in a range of reading ages. Please speak to the SfL department if you wish to know your child’s reading age.

We would  also recommend Barrington Stokes books which are all dyslexia friendly and often written by top authors.

A final publisher that produces engaging books for reluctant readers is Rising Stars. You can find their range of titles at their amazon market place shop.

Rising Stars Amazon Market Place

An excellent and comprehensive list of hi-lo readers can be found here:


Using ICT to Support Literacy

Technology allows us to have text turned into speech and for computers to turn our speech into text. The effective use of technology can help our pupil's overcome barriers to learning and fulfil their potential. We have produced two short guides to supporting literacy using ICT.

The first one is for Chrome Books and can be found below. 


It is worth noting that through GLOW all pupils have access to the Read Write and Google Voice Typing technology for free at home as well as in school. 


The second guide, which can be found below, helps pupils make effective use of the school desktops for text to speech using IVONA mini player and speech to text using Google Voice Typing.

 Sumdog - Spelling


Sumdog spelling is a games based literacy intervention designed to increase spelling ages and improve pupil engagement levels. This intervention uses a placement test to provide individual spelling pathways for each pupil. Regardless of spelling ability the software allows pupils to compete against each other in games which helps with motivation.

 Tracking information such as time on task, questions answered and percentage correct are available to teachers. SfL use this in our literacy groups and in Scotland Spells which runs with targeted pupils, mainly S1, at registration from October to April. We identify pupils using transition information, staff referrals and a simple standardised spelling test.

 As this is an online intervention it can be accessed at home to further improve pupils gains in spelling ages.

 You can find out more information of sumdog spelling here:


IDL Cloud


IDL cloud is a multi sensory literacy intervention. IDL’s evidence indicates that pupil word reading and spelling ages can be improved by around 10 months in around 26 hours of intervention time. This is roughly 5 months if this intervention was delivered for two periods a week.

 The IDL programme is tailored to pupils individual needs based on short pre intervention spelling and word reading assessments. As this is a web based intervention it can accessed at home to maximise intervention time provided the pupil has their user name and password.

 SfL staff will initially identify the pupils that would benefit from this intervention and conduct the required pre intervention tests.  However if you would like to use this to support your child at home then please contact the department.


You can find out more information on IDL cloud here:


 While a short video can be accessed here: