Help for poor readers, regardless of labels

9th September 2005 at 01:00
At Upperby primary school in Cumbria, Jane Hodgson, headteacher, does not get involved in any arguments about dyslexia.

All she is interested in is helping children who are poor readers catch up with their peers.

The school uses the Reading Intervention programme, an intensive 10-week programme of one-to-one teaching.

Mrs Hodgson said: "One child doing the programme recently went from not being able to structure a simple sentence, not forming their letters correctly and writing an incomprehensible jumble to being able to put together a very coherent string of sentences with good letter formation."

"The difference in children's progress from the start to the finish of the programme is absolutely incredible, more than you would expect in a very short period of time. The programme is very intensive, very rigorous and highly defined."

Reading Intervention was one of 18 programmes identified by a government-sponsored evaluation of schemes for poorer readers as providing good progress - up to twice as much as would be expected.

The study, What Works for Children with Literacy Difficulties, by Professor Greg Brooks, from Sheffield university, concluded it was the combination of phonological training and reading that was important.

Phonological training is helping children to identify the sounds which make up words. They are then taught that sounds can be common between words, and specific sounds can be represented by particular letters.

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