19 Dec 2017

How to do well in Pre-A1 Starters Reading and Writing Part 4

In this post, I’ll be sharing some insights and tips to help your students do Starters Reading and Writing Part 4.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there has been a change in the format of the text in this part:  It is now written in the third person (more impersonally).  Before, we used to have sentences like ‘I live….’ , ‘my …‘.

This kind of text is often found in CLIL texts, when students are learning about the environment, nature, etc.

How do I do this part of the Test?

1.  Look at the title and picture.  What is the text about?  Think about words to describe this animal or thing.

Let’s look at the 2018 Starters Part 4 Text in the Sample Papers Volume 2:



A horse is an animal.

Horses have four legs and a tail.

People ride horses.

Horses eat grass and drink water.

2.  Read the text.  What does it say about the animal or thing?

It tells us about horses’ bodies.

It tells us what families who have horses as pets do.

It tells us what food horses like.

3  Look at the words and pictures.  Cross out the example word.

Look at the pictures.  In which pictures can you see more than one thing?

legs – 4 legs          people – 2 people       eyes – 2 eyes

*   Note:  your students might say the picture of the food as there are different types of food in it.

Look at the words.  Which words are plural?  (Tip: they will probably have an ‘s’ at the end!)

legs           eyes

people* students often don’t realise that people is the plural of person!

Now, look at the text again.  Are there any numbers in the text?

four long legs

two big (1) ….

four and two tell us that the word for the gap is plural!

In gap (2), we have the word ‘a’  in front of the gap

It has a brown (2) ……

– This tells us that the word for this gap is singular!

For each gap, it’s important to read the whole sentence:


  The one in the picture has four long ….legs….., two big (1) …… and a long face.

We know that the word is plural because of the word two.

We also know that the missing word is a part of a horse’s body. (eyes)

AND The eyes in the picture are big!  That helps us too!

*(tail is also part of a body – but there aren’t two tails in the picture so it won’t fit in gap (1)!)


It has a brown (2) …… on its body too.

We know that the word is singular because of the word ‘a’ and it’s a part of a horse’s body too, so the answer is tail.


Lots of (3) …. enjoy riding horses.

We have 5 words left to choose from now:  people, food, balloon, door, day.

people is the only possible word for gap 3 for two reasons:

1   None of the other words (food, balloon, door, day) can ride a horse.

2   The verb enjoy tells us that we need a plural word.  Apart from people, all the other words are singular.


At the end of the (4) ……, they clean their horse and

We have 4 words left to choose from:  food, balloon, door, day.

Perhaps this is the most difficult gap because lots of things have ‘ends’.  

But logically, a text about horses is unlikely to include the word balloon!


and give it (5) ….. and water.  Horses like eating apples and carrots!

Again, people are unlikely to give their horses a balloon or a door!  And the words: eating, apples and carrots in the next sentence tell us that food is the correct word for gap (5).


And one final, VERY important tip:  Tell your students to check that they have spelt the words they wrote in the gaps correctly – any spelling mistakes will lose them the mark!






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