From the Chalk Face, Training
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Reflections on Journeys

Two Boats on Misty Lake (Unsplash)

It’s been a year of two kinds of journeys. For students, the journey is one through seemingly impassable obstacles to a new vantage point, a journey of not just discovery but also self-discovery.

This series of posts traces that journey from resistance through to engagement and through metamorphosis to independence.

Dangerous Cliff Edge edited (D) 2

Can’t Read, Won’t Read – the Matthew Effect. How a history of reading failure compounds to make it more difficult to engage students.


Can’t Read, Won’t Read – No Escape. The temptation to avoid reading help after years of failure is entirely natural, but must be overcome if students are to succeed.

Desert iris (Shutterstock)

Can’t Read, Won’t Read – Metamorphosis. Startling transformations can occur in many facets of students’ lives when they experience success in reading.


Can’t Read, Won’t Read – Learning to Fly. With careful planning, it is possible for students to move from intensive support to the pleasure and power of independent reading.

Success, Failure and Self-Concept examines the dynamics of this journey from the perspective of reversing the negative cycle created by reading failure. When students begin to experience rapid success, a ‘virtuous’ circle is initiated that affects many other aspects of their lives.


We have chronicled the experiences of a few students in order to illustrate their journeys. You can read their stories in their own words:

Emmanuel’s story

Charles’ story

Sophie’s story

Mekki’s story

This year has also seen the beginnings of a momentous journey for Thinking Reading as we join  Teach First’s Innovation Partnership to ‘scale up’ the intervention.

Dragon cartoon 3 heads

Into the Dragons’ Den focuses on how the process of the Innovation Awards helped us to clarify our vision.

Book Magic

Capturing the Magic explains how we learned to communicate the essence of that vision.

Lone wolf

Stepping Up shows how the move from ‘lone wolf’ to being part of a network is essential for growth and impact.


In January, the Innovation Partnership begins in earnest. There is much to do and much to learn, but just as the hard work of past years has resulted in changed lives, so we believe that these new opportunities will enable us to multiply and deepen that impact. We are excited to be working in new regions of the country and looking forward to building a team of top-notch trainers to work with us. The most important achievement we can think of is to help build a movement that will eradicate illiteracy, transform lives and build a more equal society.

Update 27 January 2018:
We are really pleased to continue working in partnership with the Teach First Innovation Hub.

Visit our website.

You may also be interested in:

Lake Matheson just after the sunrise

Reflections on Challenge

Dark Mountain Reflection (Unsplash)

Reflections on Hidden Potential

Mountain reflection with path (Pixabay)

Reflections on the Hard Road to Success


  1. Pingback: Reflections on Challenge | thinkingreadingwritings

  2. Pingback: Reflections on Hidden Potential | thinkingreadingwritings

  3. Pingback: Reflections on the Hard Road to Success | thinkingreadingwritings

  4. Pingback: Allies and Friends | thinkingreadingwritings

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