Where Reading Can Take You

A taste of what can happen in a That Reading Thing lesson The Deal in That Reading Thing is: “you never have to know anything we haven’t learned together”. The flip side of The Deal is that students do need to know what we have learned together – and the result is often higher expectation than our students have ever experienced before.  That high expectation is reflected in our choice of reading material. That Reading Thing intentionally tries to take … Read More

Literacy in the Youth Justice System

Today saw the publication of Charlie Taylor’s Youth Justice Review. Cynic that I am, I settled down to read it expecting to find a heap of material for an argumentative blog post. Keeping in mind that I’m writing about education rather than the more contentious devolution of YOTs, I’m happy to announce that I can only summon up a reasonably strong “Yes, but”. That Reading Thing came out of working with a little school for boys with emotional and behavioural … Read More

Literacy for Teens who “Don’t do education”

posted in: Young Offenders | 0

In the early years, That Reading Thing was used mostly with young people who had some connection to the local youth offending team, either in the YOS system or at risk of being on their books at some point. “I don’t do education” was a common statement at the first session. That sentiment was echoed by a woman from the Basic Skills Agency who actually said “You can’t sit a young offender down at a table and teach them to … Read More

Literacy for Young People on the Outside of Education

Years ago now, during the Round 8 funding for mentoring young offenders, I sat in a meeting where a woman from the Basic Skills Agency stated categorically that you couldn’t sit a teenaged offender down at a table and teach them to read. It just wasn’t possible. It was early days for That Reading Thing and, lacking guts, I let that comment slide by while fuming at the arrogance of a specialist who was consigning our most vulnerable teens to … 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

Working with a Young Offender

posted in: Young Offenders | 2

Why would you work on reading with a young offender?  There are plenty of reasons not to. Being in close quarters with an angry young person can be intimidating until you realise that their anger is much more likely to be about fearing failure. And that becomes the job, not to teach reading but to let the young person discover that they don’t need to fear failure when they’re with you. The reading will follow. From our first moment of … Read More