Helping children to read

One school library in Hertfordshire has taken steps to help improve children’s reading abilities, in a recent article in The Guardian.

For those students that we judged to need the most amount of help, we produced a literacy equivalent of an individual education plan (IEP). We use this with the form tutor, English teacher and parents to highlight certain strategies that can be used to help the student make the required progress.

Types of intervention and ideas range from the use of iPads, Kindles and other electronic devices to the use of blogs, guided reading, literacy leaders and the teaching of specific reading skills.

Using a Kindle, for example, is great for weaker readers who may have trouble reading a book with a double page spread – even if they are not dyslexic. If you watch a weaker reader read their eyes tend to wander off the sentence or even the paragraph. This is the same with a word they have noticed at the bottom of the page which they are worrying about. They either skip it or don’t concentrate in anticipation for a word they know they will struggle with. This inhibits fluency as well as comprehension but with the Kindle being able to enlarge the text lowers the chances of this happening and so helps to increase fluency and comprehension and of course, confidence.

Read the full article here.

National Literacy Trust research makes alarming reading

As reported in yesterday’s Education section of The Guardian, a recent survey by the National Literacy Trust makes for very grim reading.

BooksA survey of over eighteen thousand children, aged between 8 – 17, reveals that 19% have never been given a book as a present, 12% had never set foot in a bookshop, and 7% had never been to a library.

Of the materials they read, most are likely to read ‘e-mails and websites than comics.’

Combined with recent or planned closures of local libraries across the country, this makes for an alarming view of our children’s literary culture.

The National Literacy Trust said “fresh approaches” were urgently needed to encourage young people to read more. “The number of children who never read a book suggests the government has a huge challenge on its hands if the 50 books-a-year initiative is to reach every child,” it said. Last year, a major international study of children’s reading revealed British children had fallen from 17th to 25th place in the world.

Read the full article here.