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Phonics for students with English as an additional language

Here’s a great anecdote for anyone wondering if That Reading Thing works with ESOL teens. I’ll pass over to the support worker in the high school who is trained in TRT and started working with the nearly 13-year-old in the autumn.
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“I am delivering TRT to a child in year 8 who came over from Afghanistan in year 5 and had no English at all at that point. His vocabulary was learnt from his peers as his parent speak 3 different languages at home but they don’t include English! This child now speaks in a very broken (slang) English. He had a reading age of 6 years and 11 months when I tested him. His spelling was equally as poor. I was interested to see if TRT could help a child with English as an additional language. I am aware that TRT works best when the person has an already established vocabulary to work with, so this will be interesting!

He would smile constantly in an effort to disguise his confusion and then I realised that he did not have a clue as to what the instructions were from the teacher, didn’t know that a door was a door or a kettle was a kettle etc. Which also meant he did not know the teachers’ names or who he could go to for help. During TRT time I started to walk the corridors with him and point out names of people, objects etc. We will soon be one term in. His teachers have noticed him put his hand up more and become a ‘doer’ not a spectator. I will report back with his next set of test results!

He goes to college on Friday afternoons but said that he doesn’t get the same type of help as he does with TRT. He would rather do more of this and give up college!”
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Follow-up. After 4 months of That Reading Thing and relational support, this boy had gained 13 months in reading and 21 months in spelling. We get excited about those kinds of numbers in such a short time, but what’s really thrilling is that he’s now a ‘doer’ rather than a spectator in class.(As a little postscript, his father came to school to see if his mum could get That Reading Thing too!)

This is why we’d like to see one trained That Reading Thing tutor in every school and family support group. It’s life-changing.

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