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

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

Poverty, Culture & Education

posted in: Thoughts on Education | 1

Multiple link alert! – But the post makes sense without following them……. It all started with some tweets about whether or not “talking more to your baby” will actually boost their intelligence – prompted by this Guardian article. Dorothy Bishop wrote an interesting post from her researcher’s perspective. And I wrote the following reply which doesn’t so much disagree with Bishop as worry how people might be tempted to use what she wrote. Dorothy Bishop’s blog post is a good … Read More

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