Month: May 2015

Are all reading interventions created equal?

Does it really matter which one we choose? Surely it’s the fact that we are doing something that matters? And Reading Recovery has been around for years, hasn’t it? It’s been tried and tested in primary schools. It’s the government approved early reading intervention in New Zealand – they must be onto something? It’s funny how we are swayed by the familiarity of a product. By its very ubiquity we assume that something must be valid and effective. I have had Thinking Reading continually described by one headteacher as being ‘reading recovery’ purely because, for him, that was the generic term for all reading interventions. He regarded me as a little precious when I pointed out the inaccuracy of the descriptor. This was not a one-off: I have repeatedly heard primary school LSAs say that they have supported children with ‘reading recovery’ which was, in fact, just one-to-one tuition. At my first interview in the UK, I was also asked if I was trained in Reading Recovery. The advice given to the school when they …

“You will always have students who will fail.”

I don’t agree. I firmly believe that, as teachers, we have the power to ensure that students do not fail. We have that responsibility. I have seen many students’ behaviour change for the better from applying these principles. However, in each case it has either been in a controlled setting such as a special school setting, in a 1:1 intervention or in a school where the staff are of one accord and there are whole school measures available as well as effective CPD. I have also taught in a school where the expectation was that teachers should manage the behaviour of their classes pretty much on their own. The dynamics of this approach were very apparent in the two classes I taught in addition to establishing a literacy intervention. I was given the task of teaching drama to the Year 7 and Year 8 ‘nurture groups’. I had never taught drama before, but I’ll happily give anything a go once. The Year 7 class was a very positive experience – there were definitely some challenging …