Month: March 2015

7 Misconceptions About Teaching Adolescents to Read

The scale of the problem of students leaving secondary school unable to read is an unnecessary tragedy. This entirely preventable situation is exacerbated by some common misconceptions: 1  If students haven’t learnt to read by the time they reach secondary school, it is too late. Secondary schools usually have two responses regarding these students. First, they believe that it is the role of primary schools to teach reading. It most certainly is – ideally students will be well on the way to becoming confident readers by the end of KS1. However, this does not relieve secondary schools of their responsibilities to all their students. The second response is: if students haven’t learnt to read by the end of KS2, there must be something wrong with them, so the school will need to put in place additional supports to compensate for this problem. Surely, the most fundamental aim of schools is to teach children to read. Blaming the preceding teacher or school (or the home) does not absolve anyone of this requirement. There is enough evidence available to put this excuse …

First, catch your chicken

Training teachers to remediate reading problems requires detailed, systematic preparation The first problem we had to resolve when developing a training programme was: what do teachers need to know in order to help secondary students with reading difficulties? Our aim is to help build a movement that will eradicate illiteracy in adolescents: no mean feat. To ensure that happens, it is important that all students who are struggling with reading are identified and helped as effectively as possible. And for that help to be effective, we train teachers and LSAs not only to deliver the lessons but to solve problems that may arise. All of which sounds simple – though, of course, it is anything but. Lousia Moats has said: “The knowledge base for teaching reading is extensive, hidden and complex.” What she means is that there is a lot to learn. Moats was talking about beginning reading instruction, but the same holds true in the somewhat different context of remediating reading problems at secondary school. Whether it’s CPD, whole-class or one-to-one lessons, all teaching essentially consists …