Month: April 2016

What Works?

The latest edition of Prof Greg Brooks’ work provides important insights – and raises questions. We’ve been reading with great interest the updated edition of emeritus Professor Greg Brooks’ ‘What works for children and young people with literacy difficulties? The effectiveness of intervention schemes’. Professor Brooks has a strong overview of literacy interventions in reading, writing and spelling, having completed this analysis five times since 1998. The resource is well worth a read for a variety of reasons. Firstly, his overall conclusions (pp 15-16) about the types of support required for students with literacy difficulties are clear and well-evidenced. Here are a few selected quotes: Ordinary teaching (‘no treatment’) does not enable children with literacy difficulties to catch up. For the evidence on this, see the third edition. Implication: Although good classroom teaching is the bedrock of effective practice, most research suggests that children falling behind their peers need more help than the classroom normally provides. This help requires coordinated effort and training. Large-scale schemes, though expensive, can give good value for money. Implication: When establishing …

There is hope

Reading problems hinder attainment – but with wise leadership choices, there is hope. There is often a stubborn tail of low attainment that dogs our school results – students we wanted to do better, but for whom the mountain was too steep to climb. The vast majority of these students will have significant problems with reading – in decoding, comprehension, or both. And the cumulative effect of those problems will have seeped into every other area of their schooling. If, as the Read On, Get On campaign suggests, 20% of students arrive at secondary school reading well behind the level that they should, then potentially there are over 600, 000 students in the UK whose future attainment will be limited by poor reading. What is particularly alarming is that the campaign suggests that 40% of poor children fall into this category. Sometimes that sense of the scale of the problem can be very discouraging, but the reason I have been able to keep going is because there is hope. A large body of research has …