The Basic Skills Agency, which helps people who are doing something practical about social exclusion, is at http:www.basic-skills.co.uk. A recent research report on its Local Initiative Grants Programme is offered at http:www.basic-skills.co.ukcatchingup.html Slightly more than 100 secondary schools in 62 local authorities were given an average of pound;9,000 to help their lower-achieving children to catch up on the basic skills of reading, writing, spelling and number. The methods and results were monitored.
As a result, some helpful and simple suggestions emerge on the old question of how others can do it. For example, short and frequent mental-arithmetic sessions with the teacher speaking the questions aloud were found to be useful for all pupils.
Spelling and vocabulary were best taught separately from reading, and could not be simply understood from immersion in books.
The Basic Skills Agency lists its other projects at http:www.basicskills.co.ukresear.html, covering work with adults, children and young people.
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