Why the Changes at That Reading Thing?

That Reading Thing is now global and online. That means anyone in the English speaking world can deliver this proven effective literacy method to teens and adults who are struggling readers and spellers. They can access the full TRT training and all the materials for a fraction of the previous cost. As is often the case, this change was inspired by a difficulty that needed surmounting – in this situation, drastic funding cuts to both education and youth work. I … Read More

Literacy for Young People who May or May Not Have Offended

Here’s something I wrote last year that came back into my mind as I attended the Dyslexia & Youth Offending conference last week. I wrote it in response to a post on the RRF boards about using sound-based reading methods with teenagers. I’m sure you all know this but I’m going to say it anyway: reading deficits in young offenders exist for many reasons – not just a lack of good instruction in primary school. They are very complex packages … Read More

What Older Struggling Readers Need

 Older struggling readers need: 1. to change their minds about reading Reading includes speech and sounds so they learn to use their ears as well as their eyes. English is a code which can be decoded for reading and encoded for spelling. 2. new strategies for attacking unfamiliar words – to replace guessing badly Discover the complete English code Say the sounds and listen for a word Check for meaning in context. 3. confidence All learning needs to be both … Read More

Books for Struggling Readers: 3 – lowest ability

It can be quite difficult to find “real reading” material for those who are working hard through the Foundation Levels of TRT. They can read the decodable sentences but, if they’re not flying towards the Advanced Levels, it’s important that they have something to read that is all of: possible, challenging and age-appropriate. Here are my two favourite solutions for two very different age groups. Star Quest Several years ago, the local youth offending team asked me to work with … Read More

Books for Struggling Readers 2 – mid level strugglers

Here’s the second in a series of posts about a few books I’ve loved working with over the years – starting at those for readers with the highest ability and working down. The first post is here. Older struggling readers have very low expectations of what they can achieve and I’ve generally found those same low expectations are echoed by their teachers and support workers. When I was volunteering in a small school for boys with behavioural and emotional difficulties, … Read More

Books for Struggling Readers 1 – most able strugglers

When I read Dr Bethan Marshall’s comment that: many teenagers will think that being made to read Dickens aged 16 is just tedious… I felt incredibly deflated by the thought that we’ve created a world where people will miss out on the colour, characters, truths and entertainment of reading Dickens. John Walker writes more about the whys of the matter on his blog and comments: Too often the velleities of secondary school expectation are to blame. After looking up “valleity” … Read More

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