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Ruth Miskin 'Read Write Inc' - anyone using it in school?

(35 Posts)
SpangledPandemonium Wed 15-Jun-11 20:59:51

Would you recommend it? I'd be really grateful for any comments at all.

marl Wed 15-Jun-11 21:07:33

Have a look at the TES from the Friday before last. My view is that it's OK if you are Ruth Miskin and can deliver it with enormous energy. Otherwise it's quite boring. I personally have reservations about the whole thing at a wider political level because of her undue influence on the revisions to the curriculum currently being discussed and the resulting Conservative line about the importance of phonics above all else. The TES mentions the view of the national association of English teachers and others - the contributors on the review panel giving input regarding phonics is severely distorted because Ruth is on that panel together with two schools who also use her scheme. All worryingly unbalanced and yet potentially having a major effect on the shape of the curriculum to come!

SpangledPandemonium Wed 15-Jun-11 21:15:17

Interesting, thank you marl

I will look at the TES

I know exactly what you mean about the delivery of it. What I saw implemented in a school differed very much from her modelling!

gordongrumblebum Wed 15-Jun-11 21:39:59

We started this year. Yes, it is regimented - but the results are truly amazing.

You MUST get proper training though, and you do need lots of separate groups (we have 8 groups for 120 children).

However, resources are very expensive and the cynic may think that Ruth Miskin plc is trying to rake in as much money as possible!

maverick Wed 15-Jun-11 22:19:19

OUP bought Ruth Miskin's RWI programme several years ago. She only does training nowadays.

gordongrumblebum Wed 15-Jun-11 22:51:36

ok oup plc is trying to rake in as much money as possible.

SpangledPandemonium Thu 16-Jun-11 09:26:20

Do the children enjoy it gordon?

woolleybear Thu 16-Jun-11 11:33:32

From a childs point of view, they use it at my dd's school. She loves doing it and hopefully will continue to do so. I am very impressed particularly with how she has progressed with her writing.

SpangledPandemonium Thu 16-Jun-11 13:12:03

Very useful woolleybear thank you

IndigoBell Thu 16-Jun-11 13:18:20

DDs been on it for 3 years. Everyone in DDs class, besides her, learnt to read by end of Y2. So fairly good results.

I think it depends on how good your KS1 results are. If you're not getting all or almost all of your kids to a level 2 by the end of Y2, then you need to do something to improve the way you teach reading...... And RWI is certainly a good and normal choice.

Are you the person responsible for choosing a new reading scheme? What else are you considering?

SpangledPandemonium Thu 16-Jun-11 13:23:15

I am indigo yes!

Problem is someone else spent a lot of money on a reading scheme before me so there isn't a lot of money to spare. We really need some resources to support the phonics and early stages of reading.

I'm looking at 'Bug Club' and Songbirds but I am open to any suggestions

NotJustKangaskhan Thu 16-Jun-11 14:46:05

Since you're looking at phonics and the early stages on a budget (as are we all!), I would really suggest looking at this system. It's been like magic for us, even my 'I'm never going to read' student lapped it up, has gained a lot of confidence, and happily does it each day. It's also a very easy system to learn - very little training needed. The 'getting started' section on the website and the "back-up, catch-up" book for those teaching struggling readers, which has reproducible resources in it like star charts (my kids love this - it has one star for your first try and a second for being able to finish without help), have pretty much all the training you need and all the reader books have mini-instructions in the front so parents can use them in the same manner as the teachers. It also has a spelling programme which includes both words already shown in the books and an extended list of words with the same phonics rules to push more able children. It does not have a handwriting programme, but fits easily into any handwriting system I think. They customers service is also really good, they are very fast to answer questions and double fast at delivery (seriously - I got my latest package before I got the digital invoice). I've looked at a lot of systems and this one has worked the best for us to the point I wished I'd found it sooner.

SpangledPandemonium Thu 16-Jun-11 14:49:32

Thank you notjust... I will have a look at that. I'm not familiar with it.

maverick Thu 16-Jun-11 17:19:09

Spangled..., you may find the following web page useful -it lists all the best decodable book schemes along with a brief description (scroll down):

I like Dandelion Books

SpangledPandemonium Thu 16-Jun-11 20:15:27

Thanks maverick will have a look at that too.

gordongrumblebum Thu 16-Jun-11 20:20:55

Hello again.
Yes, the children do like the structure of it. They do the same thing every lesson. Every child (except for a v. SEN child) has made progress.

The 'Fred Fingers' (like sound buttons in L+S) activities, used for sounding out and spelling are really popular, and you can see children working out spelling during writing activities using their fingers.

We were originally worried as there is not much writing done in the early stages, but fingured that it was a good idea that chidlren should learn to walk before they can run. We have found that, because of the continuous plugging of sounds, blending and reading, we have also found that the early writers have progressed.

I particularly like the 'hold a sentence' activity where children have to retain a sentence and reproduce. How those boys struggled to begin with!! grin

There are a few resources we have found we don't need now (Get Writing books in particular), but it was useful to have these when we started out.

Our TAs are brilliant and all take groups of children - they have been a godsend.

One thing - we run RWI for 4 days and then do literacy with our own class on a Friday - usually a writing task connected to the creative curriculum This has meant that we (as the class teachers) have a handle on where the children are, and whether their targets are realistic. This has also made it possible for class teachers to write reports as normal, and then pass to RWI teachers for checking. I would strongly recommend that one day off RWI, just to touch base with your class of children.

The children have been great moving round - even the very littlest ones in Y1. Also, some Y1s have been working with the top Y2s, and keeping up with them.

In the beginning, it's quite a lot of hassle and MUCH more work than the trainer implies. It's not just 'open the book and follow the lesson', particularly when books are introduced, which is quite early on. With the books, there are writing activities to prepare and think about.

Anyway - we love it, and will be continuing next year.
Children have also been heard to say 'we like RWI because the children who know all the answers all the time aren't with us so we can learn better.' (Paraphrased slightly, but that was the gist!)

peanutbutterkid Thu 16-Jun-11 20:22:15

I think it has worked well in DC school... reputedly they only use it up to a certain level, though, and then switch to more creative(?) literacy teaching.

neolara Thu 16-Jun-11 20:26:17

If you are looking for not having to spend money on any resources, have you considered ERR (Early Reading Research), which is Jonathan Solity's project. You'll need to be trained, but has excellent results. I know a number of teachers who have done used this approach and they all raved about it.

I used the home Read Write books with my dd at the end of Y1. Within about 6 weeks she had gone from struggling with CVC words to reading pretty fluently. Was impressive.

gordongrumblebum Thu 16-Jun-11 20:30:44

The first books stop when children are approx 2A readers, and then schools generally do normal literacy in KS1. There is a continuation of the scheme with RWI comprehension, which I tried with the Y1/2s but they found it a bit boring. However, I loved the structure (and the continuous uplevelling), and it meant with careful planning that I could incorporate the spelling scheme every day (which I really like).

So now, I do my own texts using the overall structure of RWI comprehension, run over two weeks. This includes loads of reading and creative writing (we make puppets, do drama, etc) - almost 'creative literacy' but with lots of fun RWI activities.

This year, Y3/4 have been doing the comprehension (+ 'normal' literacy with the higher achievers).

cybbo Thu 16-Jun-11 20:38:16

Yes we use it

It IS good for encouraging independence with reading and writing, but we have found the children can get a bit 'phonic bound' especially with words they need to learn to just spell, rather than sounding out

is dull as ditchwater to teach though.....even with all the WHOOSHING!!!! and STAR!!!!!!

doglover Thu 16-Jun-11 20:40:57

We use it - an excellent resource.

Peachy Thu 16-Jun-11 20:45:50

I;ve used it with an SEN class
Marvellous, excellent results. the teacher uses it after trying it out on her own son who was not picking up reading. My classes (SEN Base, Juniors) revelled in the routines and actually seemed to be becoming competent.

Not a teacher BTW: ASD specialist on placement.

SpangledPandemonium Thu 16-Jun-11 20:48:14

Thank you all. I am going to spend an exciting evening looking at phonic resources

gordon you have answered a lot of my queries

I have a couple of questions if anyone can spare me some more time:

Are the improvements sustained? I suppose there will be an initial spike but do children make consistent progress thereafter?

Does progress in writing improve as much as reading?

What do you do with pupils who are still not making progress?

I am concerned about the dull thing cybbo

BrigitBigKnickers Thu 16-Jun-11 21:06:27

I work with a teacher who has a friend whose failing school was involved in the TV documentary (on a while ago) about improving reading using the Ruth Miskin method . (Think RM was actually involved in their training.)

Her friend said that although the children all made super progress with reading, it was to the detriment of writing.

gordongrumblebum Thu 16-Jun-11 21:15:32

I've just done an overview of progress over the year - we have assessed 4 times.
Most of the lower ability children have progressed one group in 2/4 assessments.
The middle to high ability chidlren have jumped progressed 2+ groups in 3/4 assessments.

(So a LA child may have progressed: Group A, Group B, Group B, Group C, and a MA child may have progressed Group B, Group D, Group E, Group F)

We are much more confident with writing this year, but need another year to be able to say whether progress is sustained with another cohort. So, to answer your question, yes, writing is better but it may be due to cohort.

All children but one are making progress, and it has clearly shown the slower learners. Those still working through the scheme are going to join KS1 children in Y3.

There is one child who has only progressed from Group A to C, which is still very basic. We are having him assessed at present, and will obviously take any suggestions into account. However he has progressed.

It is only as dull as you make it. Once you're past Group C (Books continue to Gp H), it becomes more interesting with writing acitivities. We move poeple round in the lower groups to keep them sane, and they always find time to read a story every day.

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