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Step-by-step course to build reading skills

Blitz: an early literacy intervention by Linda Perry.Teacher's Book and photocopiable Lesson Plans; Resource book (photocopiable); Game boards; Reading books. (Complete set: pound;166; without books: pound;88.50) Blitz!Downholm, Lewes Road, Ringmer East Sussex BN8 5QB. Telfax: 01273 814884.

This is a remedial course for children who are struggling to get a start in reading. Blitz! has been so successful in its trials that East Sussex is to run a pilot project in 10 schools this spring.

Susan Stockman, special educational needs co-ordinator at Herstmonceaux CE Primary School, East Sussex, who has been using the programme for the past year, says: "It has really filled a spot for children who were having severe reading difficulties."

Blitz! builds a sight-word vocabulary in regular session (daily is best) with child and adult 1:1. Classroom assistants and parents can learn to help the child recognise, read and re-read favourite stories, thus building their confidence in reading ability and enjoyment in books. Each session is highly structured around a child's achievement, with constant revisiting and encouragement.

Shirley Austin, who has been using the scheme with eight or nine slow readers at Marshlands CP Primary School, East Sussex, has used Blitz! to bring two SEN children up to level 1 at the end of Year 2.

"These are children who, before they started with Blitz! they would have had nothing," says Mrs Austin.

Even the slowest have gained not only a sight vocabulary of 50-60 words, but also a marked interest in books, greater in some cases than that of their mainstream classmates.

Blitz! has also had a good effect on children's morale. Linda Perry, who devised the scheme, says: "Children who have in the past not come to school regularly, now come to be Blitzed!"

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