How well can they read? Preparing pupils for transition to Key Stage 3
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How well can they read? Preparing pupils for transition to Key Stage 3

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  • 1. Janet Brennan 2 July 2014 How well can they read? Preparing pupils for transition to Key Stage 3
  • 2. This is a slightly condensed version of a workshop presentation given on 2 July 2014 at the summer conference of the London West Alliance and Challenge Partners: ‘What is great teaching and how to get it?’
  • 3. Outcomes from this workshop a clearer understanding about the reading demands pupils/students will face across the secondary curriculum knowledge of the support that pupils, students and teachers need sharing of delegates’ own practice and (perhaps) plans to work together to tackle challenges some answers to questions about reading in the National Curriculum 2014.
  • 4. Expectations for the end of Year 6 It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. Introduction to the National Curriculum programmes of study for English Published September 2013
  • 5. Reading demands at transition Changes in subject content bring changes in language: vocabulary becomes more specialised - o common words gain specialised meanings in different subjects (salt, table, plane) o specialised vocabulary will be unknown to many students (topographical, newtons, specular*) o subjects have subject-specific terminology * Three examples from the 2014 Key Stage 3 programmes of study
  • 6. Example: vocabulary in mathematics Three broad categories of mathematical words: Words which are specific to mathematics and not usually encountered in everyday language (for example hypotenuse, coefficient) Words which occur in mathematics and in everyday English, but have different meanings in these two contexts (for example difference, volume, mean). Words which have the same or roughly the same meaning in both contexts (for example fewer, between). ‘It is in the second of these categories that there is the greatest potential for pupils to be confused by the language of mathematical assessment….. Assessment of mathematics should, after all, be just that and not assessment of pupils’ linguistic skills.’ H. Shuard and A. Rothery, Children reading mathematics (1984) Quoted in D. Janan and D. Wray, Guidance on the principles of language accessibility in National Curriculum assessments: research background, Ofqual (2012).
  • 7. Reading demands at transition Changes in subject content also bring wider changes in language: the syntax of texts is more complex: students meet sentence structures that they do not meet often in speech, e.g. passive verbs, greater subordination
  • 8. Demystifying reading and writing in subjects across the curriculum If students are to succeed in the content areas, teachers will need to demystify the reading and writing that go on there. R. Heller and C. L. Greenleaf: Literacy instruction in the content areas: getting to the core of middle and high school improvement (2007).
  • 9. National Curriculum 2014 Spoken language [Pupils] should learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others … Reading and writing Teachers should develop pupils’ reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge. Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose, both fiction and non- fiction, and be encouraged to read for pleasure.
  • 10. Activating schemas – into practice Knowledge schemas that remain inactive during comprehension are as much use as non-voters during an election – they have the power to influence the outcome but they will only do so if they have been stirred into action at the appropriate moment. Wilkes, A.L. Knowledge in minds: individual and collective processes in cognition (1997).
  • 11. Importance of accurate decoding Felipe takes over as Spanish king ‘Wipe criminal records at 18’ – MPs Paedophiles ‘flocking to dark net’ NEW Failed police project criticised China jails corruption activists ‘No sign’ police knew of Adams attack New attack on drug resistant bugs BBC News stories, online, 19 June 2014, 8.00am
  • 12. What is needed to read with understanding across all subjects? fluent and accurate decoding (word reading) good vocabulary activation of schemas (background knowledge) ability to make inferences ability to integrate information (in widest sense) from across text to make meaning motivation to read.
  • 13. The Simple View of Reading Jim Rose, Independent review of the teaching of early reading (the Rose Review), DfE, 2006. Crown copyright 2006.
  • 14. The Simple View of Reading Implications of the Simple View of Reading (SVoR) two dimensions:  word recognition  language comprehension four possible outcomes Teachers should not necessarily expect pupils to show equal performance or progress in each of the two dimensions. These two dimensions are fundamental to teaching reading in NC 2014.
  • 15. Intervention Reading comprehension approaches [for intervention] appear to be less effective when learners lack particular phonic skills or the basic vocabulary required to comprehend the text, so it is important that teachers are able to assess pupils’ needs effectively prior to adopting an intervention. In addition, observational evidence suggests teachers tend to rely on a narrow range of comprehension strategies in their teaching, so it is likely that this is an area where high-quality professional development is helpful. Higgins, S., Katsipataki, M. and Coleman, R. Reading at the transition – interim evidence brief, Education Endowment Foundation, June 2014.
  • 16. So … what do we need to know about pupils’ and students’ reading? How good is their word reading? How good is their vocabulary? How good is their language comprehension? If they are struggling, exactly what are their difficulties? (How do you find out?) How motivated are they to read?
  • 17. Standardised tests Word reading: Single Word Reading Test Word reading: Diagnostic test of word reading processes Reading comprehension: the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (early primary, primary and secondary) Spelling: the Single Word Spelling Test Oral vocabulary: the British Picture Vocabulary Scale Third Edition Available from:
  • 18. Standardised tests: benefits and limitations Available from:
  • 19. What support do teachers need? support from senior leaders and managers to transform provision for reading reinforcement of reading by teachers across all subjects – not just in English lessons well-founded subject knowledge about reading (‘What happens in our heads when we read?’) knowledge of ‘what works’ to inform next steps (i.e. evaluation of impact through qualitative and quantitative data)
  • 20. Success does not require exotic strategies Success in promoting literacy does not require extravagant or exotic strategies. Schools should: involve all teachers and demonstrate how they are all engaged in using language to promote learning in their subject identify the particular needs of all pupils in reading, writing, speaking and listening make strong links between school and home plan for the longer term, emphasising the integral relationship between language for learning and effective teaching in all subjects. Ofsted, Improving literacy in secondary schools: a shared responsibility, April 2013.
  • 21. Workshop discussion Describe what really works in your school: o in improving the teaching of reading o in identifying and supporting struggling readers. Identify a challenge you face in terms of reading. Be as specific as you can so others can help you. (for teachers) Identify what help you or your pupils/students need to move forward with reading. (for middle/senior leaders) Identify what help you or your teachers need.