Lockdown has undoubtedly set back many children’s education, but without doubt the most seriously affected are those who were furthest behind to begin with. Many of these students were separated from the support that they needed when schools were forced to partially close. Now, the question is how they can catch up quickly.
The most important skill for accessing the curriculum is reading. Ensuring that all students read with sufficient accuracy and fluency is key to them leaving school with the benefit of a good education. Anything less makes them vulnerable throughout life, not just for their GCSEs.
The government has announced a national tutoring fund, essentially re-allocating the former Year 7 catch-up fund, and this provides an ideal opportunity for schools to set up effective one-to-one reading tutoring. Unfortunately, part of the government approach has been to provide one to two weeks’ training for tutors who are then thrust into schools and will, unfortunately learn (or struggle) on the job. We have to remember that students who are furthest behind will have the most long-standing, complex issues; these can’t just be picked apart by a novice – that requires study, training and experience.
Fortunately, tutors and teaching assistants can have a powerful impact when well trained and provided with an effective teaching programme. Decades of empirical research have shown us what is needed for effective small-group or one-to-one tutoring. Here are some of the most important elements:
- Detailed assessment
- Precisely defined teaching targets
- Carefully sequenced practice that is short, daily and timed
- Regular review of previous learning
- Logically faultless teaching presentations
- High rates of student response
- High rates of feedback and reinforcement
Staff who are trained and equipped to work at this deeper, research-informed level will have much greater impact, and much greater satisfaction, in their roles.
We provide training and teaching programmes to ensure that all students catch up completely in their reading. Students typically gain two months per half hour lesson on average, with the average gain being five years in six months. We also provide support for setting up effective screening, assessment and tracking systems, effective classroom technique, and intervention selection.
If you would like to explore how Thinking Reading can support you at school-wide, classroom and intervention levels, get in touch with us through our website.
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