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Manual Improving Low-Reading Ages in the Secondary School: Practical Strategies for Learning Support

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Assessing the low-aged reader 2.

1st Edition

Working with reading withdrawal groups 3. Using phonic and non-phonic reinforcement strategies 4. Support in mainstream lessons 5.


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Creating new materials 7. Spelling and reading 8.

Ten ways to improve student literacy

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Found at these bookshops Searching - please wait The books students read are signed off by a teacher, who briefly questions them to check they've been read. Students gain bronze, silver and gold status and lower-ability students can access all of these levels, as the size of the book doesn't matter. Create a reading wall: I'm a big fan of teachers sharing what they're reading. I saw a lovely reading wall in a school cafeteria area recently.

Small pieces of coloured card were pinned to a board showing the name of the teacher or student, what they were currently reading and a sentence about the book. If the book was available in the school library or local library, this was also mentioned. There were even print outs of the book covers dotted around the board — it looked amazing.

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Take advantage of short stories: Reading short stories has proved popular with our students. We have always taught a short story unit, but this term I decided to find the more unusual and challenging texts for my class. Create a word carpet: A speaking and listening activity that never fails is the word carpet, and it fits any age and text. You use the text to showcase good examples of describing a scene and write them on large pieces of card.

The children are asked to contribute some descriptive words and phrases of their own and write these on pieces of card as well. You can add your own words that you would like the children to learn. You then spread the words over the carpet, a large space is best if it's available, and put the children into pairs.

One of the pair becomes the guide and the other shuts their eyes. The guide leads their blind partner slowly through the word carpet narrating the scene as they travel. The pairs then swap over roles. After they have both walked through and narrated the scene, sit them down in silence and ask them to write the description of the scene from memory. Spelling and handwriting do not matter at this point, you're looking for the flow of writing to be strong.

How can teachers support vulnerable children at school? | Teacher Network | The Guardian

The work can be edited later on for accuracy. Give it a go — it really works. Choice of text is obviously part of the answer, but what we've found to work for us is the shared experience of everyone studying the same text regardless of their reading level — we find ways to make it accessible to all. It is a powerful text that deals with Alzheimer's disease, bereavement and bullying. We shared it with our year 6 students and taught it through a mixture of reading the book aloud to children, guided reading sessions focusing on key scenes, drama activities and related language studies on the author's style and use of language.

How can teachers support vulnerable children at school?

We discovered that the boys who were reluctant readers were completely hooked. We knew we had it right when one of our boys who previously hated literacy asked if he could stay in during lunchtime to catch up on the part of the story he had missed from being off school for a couple of days.

We also restricted access to the book, frequently leaving the story at a cliffhanger and hiding the book so they couldn't read further until the next session. This led to all kinds of sneaky hiding of copies so they couldn't grab a peek. Make reading a habit for students: Celebratory events such as World Book Day are nice, but they are a sideshow to the day-to-day graft we need to put in to provide students with the time, space and tight structure they need to sit down and read.

No amount of talking about reading amounts to the act of reading itself. Every Wednesday morning my form group will engage in DEAR — drop everything and read — for 20 minutes, as does every form group in the school. I have heard some outside the school criticise this method, the reason being that it does not solve the literacy issues of the very weak.