Month: February 2016

Addicted to Denial?

When it comes to the reading problem there appear to be two forms of denialism: the claim that there is no problem, and the claim that there is no solution. The first claim goes something like this: “All the schools I know are doing a great job. The numbers of students who are not reading well must be very small. Besides, there is no evidence of large numbers of children leaving school unable to read.” Such claims, while easily made, are also easily refuted. This blog post summarises some of the KS2 SATs data on reading. If there are 126 local authorities with more than 10% of Year 6 students reading at Level 3 or below, we have a reading problem. This National Literacy Trust report claims that 6 million adults in the UK struggle with reading. More recently, the Read On Get On campaign identified that 20% of Year 6 children go on to secondary school with insufficient skills. However, among poor children the figure is 40%. This study by University of York researchers suggests ‘there is …

Post Script

Assumptions based on our own experience do not necessarily inform a debate. I have been interested in the debate around using DI scripts, instigated most recently by David Didau here and responding to some superficial responses here. I also noted this post by Alex Quigley, who seemed to think that the scripts he developed as a novice were somehow equivalent to the Direct Instruction scripts that were largely the subject of the debate. There is perhaps a lack of familiarity in the UK with Direct Instruction scripts, how they are developed and their purpose. There are scripts, and scripts. Some people have suggested that preparing detailed lesson plans is equivalent to preparing a script. This is not correct, for the following reasons: DI scripts are prepared by experts, not novices. They require a very deep understanding of the subject matter. They are field trialled multiple times to check that they work when confronted with reality. They focus on serious, substantive elements of the curriculum, particularly the foundational skills that students need in order to achieve success in …