• Promote the use of a dictionary  whether that’s a book, the dictionary in Microsoft Word or an app on their smart phone
  • Introduce new language or words clearly and write key words in a personal dictionary
  • Think about any new words they are likely to encounter, encouraging young people to add to this during the relationship
  • Set the scene and use questioning to check prior learning before any reading activity, this will give young people a greater opportunity to decipher the text
  • Make sure reading material is presented in manageable chunks, plain English and size 12 font, so it is not overwhelming


  • Allow them to use a computer if handwriting is poor and encourage them to use spell check (ensure they know how to use spell check)
  • Help young people to plan and structure before they write. Please provide time for this before doing any written tasks. Encourage them to use spider diagrams and mind maps to organise thoughts and ideas
  • Encourage young people to write a draft and proof-read it
  • If a young person’s work is littered with errors, rather than marking it all incorrect, pick out 1-5 errors (depending on the young person) and explain what is wrong. Next, ask them to proof-read it again and see if they can highlight the mistakes. Encourage them to become more independent


  • Encourage young people to have a go at spelling words and promote the use of a dictionary – whether that’s a book, the dictionary in Microsoft Word or an app on their smart phone – provide them with practical tools they can use when you’re not around
  • Encourage them to create a personal dictionary. This is a simple and effective way of expanding vocabulary and improving spelling
  • When proof-reading, marking or checking work for a young person, do not use red pen


  • Make calculators available
  • Demonstrate their ‘unconscious competence’ by using examples from their everyday life and how it relates to numeracy  link learning to their everyday life
  • Provide multiplication squares
  • Discuss calculations they use and explore alternative methods of calculation
  • Be positive about maths – there is no excuse for a ‘can’t do’ attitude

Download LLN hints and tips (doc, 78kb)

Further resources

These websites can also help young people to brush up on their LLN skills. 

Download and print these handy LLN posters, which can also be stored in workbooks and folders: