My "bottom set" Year 10 group was feeling demotivated and pupils were struggling to improve their reading levels. As the rest of the year group was about to embark on a coursework assignment on the opening chapters of David Copperfield, I decided to order a class set of the novel that had been adapted for English as an additional language learners.
I labelled each individual book by character, and then underlined that character's dialogue. With the dialogue underlined, all pupils were willing to have a go at reading aloud, and we discovered at the end of the unit that we were the only class to have a handle on the whole story.
I was astonished at the enthusiasm with which the pupils tackled the text, and I was delighted that their anxiety at the thought of reading aloud had been greatly reduced. The time I invested in underlining the dialogue paid off.
Fran Nantongwe is head of English at Acle High School in Norwich.