Finding the gaps has involved, among other things, doing lots of little 'tests' in exercise books using pens and pencils. I have been surprised at how much the students have enjoyed doing these. It has been important to build the culture of being okay with making mistakes as that shows us what we need to learn.
Some of the learning has involved quick fixes - for example, the short vowel sound of the letter 'u'. But we have spent a surprisingly long time practising our list of 300 basic sight words so we can read them quickly and accurately. The students have embraced the challenge of being timed reading 100 words at a time and then trying to beat their own time the next time!!
One student from this focus group has left our school and another student has been identified as being a suitable replacement and will commence with the group in term two. Poor attendance at school plus sporting and other commitments have encroached on our group time but have allowed for more individualised learning.
I expect that as we dig a bit deeper that the gaps will open up between the students' knowledge and I will need to come up with strategies for managing this. I can already see some increased confidence and risk-taking as the foundations are becoming stronger.