Literacy Reading and Writing Assessments

Brandon Literacy Council uses two levels of assessment to determine your combined reading comprehension and writing skills. Both assessments use pictures, diagrams, tables and charts, letters, and paragraphs to assess your abilities. These assessments start out with simple questions and get progressively more challenging.

The assessment you will be given depends upon your English language level and the discretion of the instructors.

Below are some strategies to help improve your reading comprehension. Keep in mind that your reading comprehension is also assessed through your ability to give the answer the question is asking for; make sure that you read and understand the questions before writing your answer.

Reading Comprehension Strategies for Success

  1. Read the Question Before You Read the Passage.
    Always read the question before you read the passage. Knowing what the question is asking will prepare you for what you need to notice as you read the passage. You will be reading with a specific purpose in mind.
  2. Note the Key Word in the Question.
    Often a question will include a key word that identifies the kind of information you’ll need to look for. For example, if the question asks, “What does the passage emphasize?” the key word is “emphasize,” a word that signals you to identify the main idea of the passage. If the question asks, “What is the author’s purpose in this passage?” the key word is “purpose,” a word that signals you to pay attention to an author’s tone and reason for writing a passage. Beware of negative words in the question (except, not, but, least). These words signal that you are actually looking for the only answer among the choices that is not acceptable. If the question reads, “All of the following ideas are presented in the passage except. . .” the word “except” is the key word.
  3. Read the Passage and Take Notes.
    Once you’ve carefully examined the question, read the passage, making notes on scrap paper that relate to the question. For example, if you have been asked the main idea of a passage, write down key ideas from the passage or try to summarize the passage in your own words. Reading test passages are generally short. If need be, use your scrap paper to rewrite the entire passage. The very act of writing can increase your comprehension. Pay special attention to words such as but, yet, although, since, except moreover, unless, nonetheless, however. The ideas that follow these words are usually important to the overall meaning of the passage.

Adapted from: Strategies for taking the Accuplacer Reading Comprehension Test