During your sessions observing the children, you may find it useful to refer to some of these questions as a way of focusing on how their reading and writing skills are developing:

Can the children hear and say initial and final sounds in words? Can they hear and say short vowel sounds within words?

Can the children name and sound the letters of the alphabet?

Do the children know that print in English is read from left to right, and from top to bottom?

Do the children enjoy exploring and experimenting with sounds, words and texts?

Do they have a knowledge of the vocabulary of literacy, such as ‘book’, ‘cover’, ‘page’, ‘line’, ‘title’, ‘author’, ‘front’, ‘back’, ‘word’, ‘reading’, ‘writing’, etc.?

Can the children write their own name?

Do they attempt to write for different purposes, such as letters, lists, instructions, stories, etc.?

Do the children use their knowledge of phonics to attempt to read or write simple regular words?

Can they hold and use a pencil appropriately?

Do they write letters using the correct sequence of movements?

Can the children recognise the important elements of words such as shape, length and common spelling patterns?

Do the children use different cues when reading, e.g. their knowledge of a story, context, illustrations, syntax, etc?

Can they identify significant parts of a text, e.g. captions, characters' names, chants, etc.?

Are the children aware of the structure of a story, i.e. a beginning, a middle and an end? Are they aware of the actions and consequences within a story?

Do the children check text for sense? Do they self-correct when something they read does not make sense?

Can the children identify patterns in stories and poems? Can they extend them?

Can the children match phonemes to graphemes? Can they write them?

Do they understand alphabetical order?

Can the children sight-read familiar words such as captions or high frequency words?