IMPROVING READING Geoff Barton Tuesday, March 11, 2014 www.geoffbarton.co.uk
Where are we with English? What are the key issues relating to reading? So what can we do to improve our pupils’ reading skills and pleasure in reading? www.geoffbarton.co.uk
Sign at Suffolk hospital: Criminals operate in this area
Would the congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the church labelled ‘for the sick” is for monetary donations only Churchdown parish magazine
Literacy today is different from when we were younger • Multi-media dominates • Most ‘classic texts’ are known through film • Reading extended writing is rare • A visual culture dominates • The notion of ‘accuracy’ is being challenged • None of this is a bad thing
The literacy context ... • Nearly 40% of pupils make a loss and no progress in the year following transfer, related to a decline in motivation • Pupils characterise work in Years 7 and 8 as ‘repetitive, unchallenging and lacking in purpose’ • “Year 7 adds so little value that actually missing the year would not disadvantage some children” (Prof John West-Burnham)
The literacy context ... • A 1997 survey showed that of 12 European countries, only Poland and Ireland had lower levels of adult literacy • 1-in-16 adults cannot identify a concert venue on a poster that contains name of band, price, date, time and venue • 7 million UK adults cannot locate the page reference for plumbers in the Yellow Pages
BBC NEWS ONLINE: More than half of British motorists cannot interpret road signs properly, according to a survey by the Royal Automobile Club. The survey of 500 motorists highlighted just how many people are still grappling with it.
According to the survey, three in five motorists thought a "be aware of cattle" warning sign indicated … an area infected with foot-and-mouth disease.
Common mistakes • No motor vehicles - Beware of fast motorbikes • Wild fowl - Puddles in the road • Riding school close by - "Marlborough country" advert
October 2005: Key findings • The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), published in 2003, found that, although the reading skills of 10 year old pupils in England compared well with those of pupils in other countries, they read less frequently for pleasure and were less interested in reading than those elsewhere. • An NFER reading survey (2003), conducted by Marian Sainsbury, concluded that children’s enjoyment of reading had declined significantly in recent years. • A Nestlé/MORI report highlighted the existence of a small core of children who do not read at all, described as an ‘underclass’ of non-readers, together with cycles of non-reading ‘where teenagers from families where parents are not readers will almost always be less likely to be enthusiastic readers themselves
October 2005: Key findings • There has been a marked improvement in the reading standards achieved but there remains a significant and continuing variability in performance across sometimes very similar schools. • In addition, too few schools have given sufficient time and thought to how to promote pupils’ independent reading and there is evidence that many pupils are reading less widely for pleasure than previously. • Many teachers struggle to keep up-to-date with good quality texts for their pupils to read.
October 2005: Key findings • The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), published in 2003, found that, although the reading skills of 10 year old pupils in England compared well with those of pupils in other countries, they read less frequently for pleasure and were less interested in reading than those elsewhere. • An NFER reading survey (2003), conducted by Marian Sainsbury, concluded that children’s enjoyment of reading had declined significantly in recent years. • A Nestlé/MORI report highlighted the existence of a small core of children who do not read at all, described as an ‘underclass’ of non-readers, together with cycles of non-reading ‘where teenagers from families where parents are not readers will almost always be less likely to be enthusiastic readers themselves.
October 2005: Key findings • Strategies for promoting individual reading do not always sit easily alongside whole-class and group approaches to teaching reading. Most schools expect pupils to keep a record or journal of their reading, but the quality of these is mostly very poor. • Pupils do not understand why they are expected to maintain them since most teachers do nothing with them. • The Bullock report noted that the teacher who knows books well, who is aware of pupils’ interests and reading background and who discusses reading with them will have a significant impact on whether the pupils continue to read for pleasure and the effectiveness of their reading.
October 2005: Key findings • Some teachers tell inspectors that teaching reading has lost its fun. • Is it appropriate or not any longer simply to read and share stories with their class; do they always need to analyse the text and set exercises? Is time for silent, independent reading regarded as good practice or not? Should teachers read whole novels with a class or is this a waste of valuable teaching time? • In fact, Ofsted’s evidence is that all these approaches, deployed appropriately, have potential, particularly as part of a systematic and balanced policy on reading.
So what should we do… • across the school? • and in our English lessons?
WHOLE-SCHOOL LITERACY IMPACT! Subject-specific vocabulary Varied approaches to reading READING Active research process, not FOFO Using DARTs
Subject-specific vocabulary: • Identifying • Playing with context • Actively exploring • Linking to spelling • Providing glossaries, etc.
Approaches to reading: • Scanning • Skimming • Continuous reading • Close reading • Research skills, not FOFO.
Using DARTs: • Cloze • Sequencing • Diagram completion • Disordered text • Prediction • Avoiding “Glombots”
The Glombots, who looked durly and lurkish, were fond of wooning, which they usually did in the grebble. 1 What did the Glombots look like? 2 What were they fond of doing? 3 Where did they like to do it?
So what should we do… • across the school? • and in our English lessons?
As English teachers, let’s … Approach text from the point of view of being a writer Use class readers as symbolic texts and to make connections with other texts Use more non-fiction but broaden the genres Read texts aloud but not around the class Teach students about non-fiction conventions - eg interrupting, long subjects, connectives, agent-avoidance! … and maintain a rich, lively, enjoyable commitment to celebrating reading
LITERACY FOR LEARNING • Fiction is more personal. Non-fiction has fewer agents: • Holidays were taken at resorts • During the 17th century roads became straighter
LITERACY FOR LEARNING Children’s fiction tends to be chronological. Fiction becomes easier to read; non-fiction presents difficulties all the way through
LITERACY FOR LEARNING Non-fiction texts rely on linguistic signposts - moreover, therefore, on the other hand. Children who are unfamiliar with these will not read with the same predictive power as they can with fiction
LITERACY FOR LEARNING Non-fiction tends to have more interrupting constructions: The agouti, a nervous 20-inch rodent from South America, can leap twenty feet from a sitting position Asteroids are lumps of rock and metal whose paths round the sun lie mainly between Jupiter and Mars
LITERACY FOR LEARNING Fiction uses more active verbs. Non-fiction relies more on the copula (“Oxygen is a gas”) and use of the passive: Some plastics are made by … rather than We make plastics by …
LITERACY FOR LEARNING Non-fiction texts have more complex noun phrases: The remains and shapes of animals and plants are lost in the myriad caves of the region
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? It was on a bright day of midwinter, in New York. The little girl who eventually became me, but as yet was neither me nor anybody else in particular, but merely a soft anonymous morsel of humanity – this little girl, who bore my name, was going for a walk with her father. The episode is literally the first thing I can remember about her, and therefore I date the birth of her humanity from that day.
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? Urquhart castle is probably one of the most picturesquely situated castles in the Scottish Highlands. Located 16 miles south-west of Inverness, the castle, one of the largest in Scotland, overlooks much of Loch Ness. Visitors come to stroll through the ruins of the 13th-century castle because Urquhart has earned the reputation of being one of the best spots for sighting Loch Ness’s most famous inhabitant
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? Jake began to dial the number slowly as he had done every evening at six o’clock ever since his father had passed away. For the next fifteen minutes he settled back to listen to what his mother had done that day
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? Seville is voluptuous and evocative. It has to be seen, tasted and touched. The old quarter is Seville as it was and is. Walk in its narrow cobbled streets, with cascades of geraniums tumbling from balconies and the past shouts so loudly that one can almost glimpse dark-cloaked figures disappearing silently through carved portals.
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? Thirty years ago, Neil Armstrong was preparing for the most momentous step made by a human being in the twentieth century. But first he had to get there, wiggling his way out of the lunar module that had brought him and Aldrin this far.
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? There was a double eclipse in the early autumn of 1605 – a lunar eclipse on 19 September followed by an eclipse of the sun in early October. Such celestial phenomena were traditional held to ‘portend no good’.
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? Proud mum in a million Natalie Brown hugged her beautiful baby daughter Casey yesterday and said: “She’s my double miracle.”
What kind of text is this?What is its purpose?Who is it aimed at?What do you notice about its language? 2wentys Flights are ready to blast off again for summer 99. It’s a new concept in flying where we give you what you want (not what some old gipper wants). Let’s face it, if you’re flying to Ibiza it’s Sasha and Digweed not Mozart and Bach you’re after.
The Life of Charles Dickens Chapter 1 CHARLES DICKENS, the most popular novelist of the century, and one of the greatest humorists that England has produced, was born at Lanport, in Portsea, on Friday, the seventh of February, 1812. His father, John Dickens, a clerk in the navy pay-office, was at this time stationed in the Portsmouth Dockyard. He had made acquaintance with the lady, Elizabeth Barrow, who became afterwards his wife, through her elder brother, Thomas Barrow, also engaged on the establishment at Somerset House, and she bore him in all a family of eight children, of whom two died in infancy. The eldest, Fanny (born 1810), was followed by Charles (entered in the baptismal register of Portsea as Charles John Huffham, though on the very rare occasions when he subscribed that name he wrote Huffam); by another son, named Alfred, who died in childhood; by Letitia (born 1816); by another daughter, Harriet, who died also in childhood; by Frederick (born 1820); by Alfred Lamert (born 1822); and by Augustus (born 1827).