Time well spent on group reading

28th June 1996 at 01:00
I agree with many of the points made by Sue Palmer ("Boredom, bedlam and balance," TES, June 14) and was surprised to read that she doubted the methods outlined in my article "Time Well Spent?" (Language and Learning, December 1995).

I questioned the validity of daily silent reading, which in many schools comprises a significant 10 per cent of the 25-hour week. As many teachers are concerned that this use of time is indeed a time of restlessness and boredom, I outlined a tried-and-tested method as an alternative to the Everyone Reading in Class time advocated by Sue Palmer. This model features: * structured daily reading; * an effective management plan; * an approach which enables teachers to differentiate the reading tasks; * intensive teacher input every day in small groups; * reading variety through a range of texts and strategies; * assessment of every child in a range of reading situations.

I have received positive feedback from students, teachers and advisers who have adopted this approach, and during a recent Office for Standards in Education inspection, for which our English team was awarded a Grade 1, our students were highly commended for their planning of English, including their organisation and management of reading activities.

I have successfully used this model in my own classroom. It is based on sound knowledge of how children learn, their developing needs as readers, and how best to organise for both those things.

As we become drawn into the next round of debate about methods, let us not lose sight of common sense and professional judgment. The indiscriminate use of general labels is dangerous and damaging. In this case, my "group methods" enabled me to deliver the national curriculum English through what was described by colleagues and parents as quality teaching.

SUZI CLIPSON-BOYLES Senior lecturer in primary English and education Oxford Brookes University

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