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Effective reading interventions

(29 Posts)
aroomofherown Fri 06-Dec-13 19:04:04

I've posted on secondary but I think there may be more expertise here. I need to implement a reading intervention program for secondary students who have a delay in their reading.

What you you advise and why? And can anyone point me in the direction of some studies/research?

Many thanks

Feenie Fri 06-Dec-13 19:23:39


mrz Fri 06-Dec-13 19:25:42

You need maizieD she's been doing just that for years

aroomofherown Fri 06-Dec-13 19:29:36

maizieD are you around?

aroomofherown Fri 06-Dec-13 19:34:30

Thanks Feenie I've signed up for the free tutorials.

Fuzzymum1 Fri 06-Dec-13 19:39:47

The Better Reading Partnership is quite intensive but is suitable for secondary as well as primary - I did it in primary school for a couple of years and all children made good progress - it's 15 minutes 3 times a week for ten weeks - one child aged 6.5 years started with a reading age too low to be tested with the test we did - so below 5 years. Ten weeks later when they were retested their reading age came out at 7y9m and their mother reported that not only had they started enjoying reading but their confidence in reading and in many areas of their life had improved.

Feenie Fri 06-Dec-13 19:46:14

Unfortunately it is based on Reading Recovery.

aroomofherown Fri 06-Dec-13 19:47:53

So is the problem with Reading Recovery that it is not permanent improvement? Or are there other issues as well?

Feenie Fri 06-Dec-13 19:49:16

www.ldaustralia.org/client/docum ... 13-WEB.pdf

(See page 19)

Feenie Fri 06-Dec-13 19:49:51


Feenie Fri 06-Dec-13 19:52:00


aroomofherown Fri 06-Dec-13 20:05:00

Feenie - interesting reading re Reading Recovery, thanks.

maverick Fri 06-Dec-13 20:15:41

Thumb-nail sketches of all the top phonics interventions here- look at the ones marked with a black X for older children


aroomofherown Fri 06-Dec-13 20:18:13

Lovely, thanks Maverick

neolara Fri 06-Dec-13 20:29:44

Paired Reading. Very easy to run. Get 6th formers to do it with younger kids. You can train them up in 30 mins. No cost. Do it 10 mins a day. For every month the child does this, on average they improve their "reading age" in 3 months. Over 10,000 kids involved in research on Paired Reading over the years. Results are consistent. Some kids can make 10 months progress in one month. It's usually used with younger kids, but could easily be used with struggling kids in secondary. Look at point 3.10 in this government document about what works for literacy difficulties. For further info, google Kirklees Paired Reading. I think a number of different approaches call themselves Paired Reading, but you want the one designed by Keith Topping.

aroomofherown Fri 06-Dec-13 20:32:54

Thanks neolara - interestingly we already do this, but it's 2x per week for 20 mins. Difficulty is getting all kids to attend although we work hard at this. However, I might look into the Keith Topping approach.

All feedback suggests its working so far, kids gaining in confidence and fluency.

neolara Fri 06-Dec-13 20:45:10

The Paired Reading that the research refers to is when the child and the helper read aloud simultaneously. When the child makes a sign (e.g. knocks table), the helper stops reading and the child continues reading alone. As soon as the child pauses for longer than 3 seconds, or makes an error, the helper corrects the mistake and starts reading simultaneously again with child. This continues, until the child makes a sign. It's important the child chooses the reading material. Little and often is more effective than longer periods of practise occurring less frequently.

maverick Sat 07-Dec-13 08:36:54

Studies and research: Older students’ literacy problems


maizieD Sat 07-Dec-13 11:03:45

I used RWI Freshstart for my 'strugglers'. Very effective so long as used by someone who understands the principles of synthetic phonics teaching but has to be done in small groups of children working at about the same stage in the programme. It can't, for example, just be used for a bottom set English; the pupils in the set will have too wide a range of literacy competence.

If the OP does chose to use a phonics based programme they have to be aware that it will require all of the teaching & support staff to be trained/made aware of how to use simple phonic strategies forsupporting reading and spelling so as to reinforce the work that the intervention children are getting. This can be quite difficult!

I'm looking at Topping's PhD thesis on Paired Reading. I can see why it might boost children but it won't do anything for the lack of complete phonic knowledge and automatic decoding and blending which is usually at the root of pupils' reading problems.

aroomofherown Sat 07-Dec-13 11:07:02

Thanks all.

maizieD I think it's going to be impossible to train all teaching/support staff in phonics - at least this year. I'm new to the school and it's secondary, so many many teachers with a range of pressures already.

I'm going to have to go with a phonics intervention in small group or more likely 1:1

I'll have a closer look at RWI Freshstart. Thanks

maizieD Sat 07-Dec-13 11:23:44

I didn't expect that you should be able to train all the staff immediately! It took me a number of years to persuade the SLT that a bit of knowledge of how to support these children would be handy for all staff to have!

I used Freshstart small group and 1:1 (we worked with about 50 KS3 pupils every year). I like Freshstart because it has integral text but it is expensive and packaged in such a way that you can end up with surplus(expensive!) copies.
I suggest that you look at Phonics International too (Feenie gave the link earlier in the thread) particularly if the budget is tight.

And, 'Sound Discovery' is worth looking at. I used resources from as a supplement sometimes, but it would be effective on its own.


There is also a very cheap and effective little IT programme called 'AcceleeReadAcceleeWrite' (ARAW) which needs text to speech software but is excellent for individual practice of spelling (and, incidentally, reading) It's the only IT based 'phonics' programme I would ever recommend.

mammadiggingdeep Sat 07-Dec-13 11:49:55

Neorla- I second paired reading. We have business partners with a law firm, volunteers come one lunchtime a week and read with year 3 children. These children make accelerated progress in most cases.

Does the school have a partnership with a local business? Could this be something you develop? They also have a chess club and a French club. Works really well and the added bonus is the children make friends with their 'partner'.

zebedeee Sat 07-Dec-13 12:03:10

Feenie, the trouble is Reading Recovery and Better Reading Partners do work. Kevin Wheldall is promoting his own Multilit (TM) programme. Which may or may not also work. But he is profiting from it, so it is in his interest to promote his own programme and 'talk down' another.

aroomofherown Sat 07-Dec-13 12:10:56

Ah ok, thanks maizieD! I think once I have proved how weak our literacy is with some statistics I can have more sway with pushing literacy training next year. And I need to get a grip on this and then start working more closely with the Literacy co-ordinator.

OK - what we currently do is:

Paired reading ith 6th formers 2x20 min per week (Y7 and Y8)
Business volunteers coming in 1x30 min per week (Y7)

And I do Toe By Toe with 2 students 1:1 3x20 mins per week.

BUT...I feel that these reading groups are great for practice but not necessarily for targeting the skills required for reading, and if they are lacking then practice is only going to be somewhat effective. I'd like to target the weakest readers' individual reading needs as well and not rely on just a blanket practice time.

I might start with Phonics International (I signed up last night) and look into Freshstart for more medium term planning.

Feenie Sat 07-Dec-13 12:22:05

I think you missed my second link, zebedee - no idea how, since mrz also posted it the other day:

Distinguished Professor Bill Tunmer says the Reading Recovery programme “is of limited benefit to those students who need help the most”. He pointed out the lowest achieving children are less likely to successfully finish the programme. “Moreover, a significant number of the lowest performing six-year-olds are excluded from Reading Recovery because they are considered unlikely to benefit, or are withdrawn early when they do not meet expected rates of progress. This adds to the evidence that Reading Recovery does not work well for pupils who are most at risk for failing to learn to read.”

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