Tuesday, June 02, 2009

London teachers do brilliant job catching up underperforming readers and spellers.

The literacy blog has just been sent some interesting statistics by Anne Neal, a special educational needs co-ordinator at Stillness Junior School in Forest Hill, Lewisham. She and her inclusion team have been teaching a group of six children three times a week, thirty minutes a session, for seven weeks.

She tested all six before and after using the Salford Reading test and the Vernon Spelling test.
These are the results:
The asterisk indicates that the ceiling on the test was too low to show whether the child in question had a higher reading age.

On average, then, after just seven weeks of teaching, the average gain in reading was 17.6 months and the average gain in spelling was 9.8 months. The average age of the children would be about 10 years and four months.

This is very significant, especially as these children had had plenty of time to pick up all sorts of bad habits in the past that hold them back.

Well done to that SENCo and her team! And the programme used to get these results? Sounds-Write.

3 comments:

  1. I have been working with a pupil for three weeks using the Sounds-Write programme (7 x 1 hour sessions). Her spelling age on the BAS has increased from 5.4 years to 6.4 years. Her Reading Age on the BAS has increased by only 3 months (still not bad in 3 weeks). However, as you know John, this test comprises lots of high frequency words (she is in Unit 5 of the S-W). Can anybody beat that??

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  2. Sounds to me as if you're not so Dizzy Lizzy!
    This kind of progress is terrific - and, of course, you're right, virtually every reading test you come across is a test of high frequency words. The upshot of this is, as you know, that children are presented with more complex aspects of the reading and writing system when they are initially still working at a simple level.
    It's a bit like asking someone to drive in the fast lane of the motorway when they're only into their first week or so of learning to drive.
    I'd love to hear from you again for an update at the end of term? How about it?

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  3. Well done Lizzy. It's good to hear that your pupil is racing ahead given the Sounds~Write linguistic phonic teaching approach. Although your data is only on one pupil, it highlights the fact that reading tests are focused on sight memorisation of whole words and their norms therefore do not actually reflect reading ability. I think you should stick to looking at spelling data which more accurately reflects the level at which your pupil can be expected to interact successfully with her school curriculum.

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