Developing Reading Skills It is important that we explore and facilitate ways to foster a love of books. But what does this mean to some of our learners...
Research shows the knock-on effects of literacy skills and how they can affect health, income, employment and even housing in adult life, yet may children are not getting the start they need. One in 10 is never read a bedtime story, according to a recent study by a charity Booktrust and half of children rarely discuss reading at home – cited by Jenny McKibbenwww.surestart.gov.ukMarch 2008. So how can we as secondary school teachers promote reading for enjoyment, the strategies required for real life reading and encourage ‘Family Reading’ ...
There is no single way to teach reading.Different children may need different methods. • Signs and symbols / real life reading • Words in common use • Look and say a whole word – flash cards / pictures • Phonics – the ability to discriminate and remember the sounds of letters and letter combinations in words • Story books, non-fiction , picture books and listening books • Language experience – development of word recognition and grammar .Recognising printed words by associating them with your existing knowledge of spoken language
ReadingQuick Readability Tests • The Five Finger Test Ask the student to: • Open the book at random (not first page) • Start to read at the top of the page • Every time they come to a word they can’t read, they point a finger • If they use all five fingers before the end of the page, advise them to choose a different book • If they still have some spare fingers – tell them to read on!
2. The Cloze Passage Test • Photocopy a fairly long paragraph from the middle of the book • Blank out every 7th word • Let the student try to read the passage • If they can’t make sense of it, it’s too difficult • If they can make sense of it, it’s OK
Text Checker • The Text Checker will enable you to verify if the text you are using is suitable for each of your student’s abilities i.e. From the most able students to those who need considerable additional support. • Randomly select 100 consecutive words from a text • Count the number of sentences per 100 word passage • Count the number of syllables per 100 words • Use the Fry Graph to determine the Reading Age of the piece of text
Teachers often say that in a busy classroom it is not possible to give individual help to just one student. In this case, the key must be to teach in a way that enables all students to learn. This could include the following...
Tips! • Encourage students to highlight key words / facts / instructions • Provide word banks • Cloze procedure / writing frames / sentence starters • Bullet point / mind map / thought trees • Use pictures as memory hooks • Use word-searches to introduce/consolidate new vocabulary • Literacy games to reiterate key words; snap, Reading Bingo • Encourage ‘look, say, cover, write and check’ process • Use a text checker • Don’t assume that all ofthe students in your groups can read information displayed on the board / handout / text book – take the time to read through
Chunk’ reading tasks, simplify language used and confirm understanding – ‘think, pair and share’ • Peer support – seating plans • Teaching assistant – gain advice / small groups / allow time to explain • Give homework at the beginning of the lesson rather than at the end when everyone is rushing to get out • Encourage students to use all the clues on page before tackling the text • Giving handouts rather than expecting students to copy from the board • We learn best when we are involved – so make learning ACTIVE!
Lets play Word Bingo!
Points to remember • Check students literacy levels – regardless of subject area • Size of font (min 14 – Comic sans a recommended type) • Limit text • Whenever possible use symbols and picture prompts • Display key words either on walls or with learning objectives – refer back to them / add to them • Classroom displays prepare at the start of a scheme of work / project and add to them key words as the topic develops • Encourage the use of a published or personal dictionary • Create glossaries for topics • Use engaging material – age and ability appropriate
Locate differentiated material available within your faculties • Explore ICT packages such as Read & Write GOLD – which highlights and reads text aloud improving concentration and word recognition • Know your group / students before requesting that text is read aloud – create a safe ‘no put down’ learning environment • Be clear about what skill it is that you are developing – is reading necessary? Can other methods of assessment be used to record responses in order to ascertain knowledge / talent? Think about whether the student’s self-esteem and confidence could be damaged • Be aware that a student may be more tired because s/he has to work extra hard to try to keep up!
Process of Identification & Intervention • Primary school data • All of year 7 are screened using the Renaissance reading scheme – Reading Stars • Students with a reading age of below 9 are identified – further testing administered to gain a clearer and more accurate profile (evidence suggests that once a reading age of 9 is achieved, improvement is more likely to occur because the reader is then able to practise their skills independently. Before this is achieved, reading is often a word-by-word process – cited by Neanon, 2008) • Tests carried out are NfER Group Reading Test – Sentence Completion (x-form) / Schonnell Reading Test / Daniels & Diack Spelling / Reading & Spelling of 100 High Frequency Words / Independent writing
5. The level of intervention required to improve individual students literacy skills is then discussed with the students and their parents 6. Examples – home to school spelling pack / age appropriate reading book and discussion sheet / withdrawal from modern foreign languages / morning booster groups / phonics group / family literacy 7. Target areas are then recorded on to an Individual Education Plan 8. The student’s progress is then reviewed and assessed as part of the annual SEN audit – speaking & listening, reading and writing (criteria examples included in pack) 9. At the beginning of year 9 (every 2 years thereafter) – testing for exam access arrangements
In 2006, The Independent Review of the teaching of early reading, the Early Years Foundation Stage and the Primary National Strategy recommended systematic, ‘high quality phonic work’ as the prime means for teaching beginner readers to learn to read. Direct Phonics ProgrammeJo Wilson and Rea Reason www.directphonics.co.ukRoom 1258.45-9.15 • Two groups of 5 students have been identified • 3 times a week they will follow a 20 minute session that provides a deliberate, repetitive and predictable teaching programme • The programme moves on from blending single sounds in words to larger sound units – syllables – taught within a wider language approach • As soon as children have learnt particular polysyllabic (words containing many syllables i.e. Fan-tas-tic) and compound words (words that consist of two meaningful shorter words cow-boy), they use their knowledge to read sentences and stories.
Model Lead Check • Teacher reads the blend/word/sentence aloud (model) • Then the blend/word/sentence is read in chorus with the children (lead) • Then the group reads the blend/word/sentence without the teacher (check) • Then the students individually read aloud the blend/word / sentence (check) Rapid Revision Procedure • Teacher points to a selection of blends or words written on the whiteboard in random order • Teacher asks individual students to read any one of them as quickly as possible – this aims to develop speed and fluency of response A further 3 basic activities are followed which include the students using their work pack and individual white board to write the words/blends and sentences from dictation.