All posts tagged: structure

Looking for Impact? Structure Matters

Why do school structures matter when it comes to reading interventions? Sometimes the obvious answers – or ‘the way we’ve always done it’ – turn out not to be the best solutions. Take reading interventions at secondary school. Usually, interventions for students who are reading at a low level are located within the SEN department, based on the following assumptions: Students who have difficulty reading likely have a disability of some kind (one of the many variants of ‘dyslexia’, for example); Students who are reading at a low level do so because they are less intelligent, and therefore should be taught within the ‘special needs’ context; Low-reading students are less likely to make progress and therefore less likely to assist the school’s results, so it makes sense to identify them as having special needs when accounting for their progress (or lack of it). I’ve pointed out elsewhere why these common misconceptions are wrong, and how they hinder the progress of students. But when we consider that nationally, 20% of students arrive at secondary school unable to …

Can’t Read, Won’t Read: The Sequel

Learning to Fly  Successful graduates may still need some structure in order to develop true independence. One of the questions that is frequently raised with me is whether the gains students make can be seen transferring to the classroom. After all, if they really have made progress, it should show in their academic learning. Indeed it does.* Teaching students decoding skills to fluency creates more room in working memory to deal with the meaning of what they are reading. Students also feel more confident and engage more readily with texts. But it is also important to influence teacher perceptions to ensure that they now realise what the student is capable of. Likewise, parents need to be well informed so that they now hold higher expectations, and can help guide the student towards new habits of reading. The key to influencing these perceptions is reporting. We make sure that regular updates on progress are issued to all teachers working with the student, and follow with an end of programme report. These reports are detailed, charting students’ progress and commenting on changes in …