Closing the Reading Gap

The Problem with Reading Informational Texts

Let’s start with a little reading… Is it familiar? The ‘Way of the Dodo’ text lives in infamy as a SATS 2016 reading paper extract that was so difficult that it made some pupils cry.  It is a reading extract that also exposes a key problem in classrooms everywhere: the difficulty for pupils – primary or secondary age – …

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Arguing about English

Everyone has an opinion on the teaching of English, its curriculum, along with our national qualifications. Not just teachers: parents, policy makers, and pupils, all have an argument at the ready.  Of course, most of us have stumbled through an analysis of Shakespeare, or grumbled over the peculiarities of grammar at one time or another, …

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The ‘Language Leap’ at Transition

The importance of tending to pupils at the transition between primary and secondary school is well-established. The obvious focus, understandably, attends to the pastoral needs of pupils: making them feel safe and secure in their new ‘big school’ surroundings. Crucially, there is also an increasing recognition that making curriculum connections and charting the ‘language leap’ …

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Does reading *really* matter in mathematics?

Every teacher recognises that every subject is mediated by reading skill, but it matters in some more than others, right? Does it really matter that much in maths? When I speak to teachers, or those school leaders responsible for aspects of literacy whole school, the refrain they often relate is that reading simply doesn’t matter so much …

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Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Literacy

When I started teaching nearly two decades ago, I was a teacher of reading, writing, vocabulary, academic talk, and more. The problem was that I could do reading and writing, but I had little idea how to systematically teach the development of these vital skills.  Yes – I could model some writing and offer some …

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Do We Need to Sort Out Silent Reading?

DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) or ERIC (Everyone Reads in Class) are very common approaches to independent reading that occur each week in countless schools. They are part of the fabric of the school day and can prove a cornerstone of a rich reading culture. The rationale for implementing sustained opportunities for repeated independent reading …

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