Thursday, 22 September 2016


Many of the tutors attended 'refresher' sessions held over 2 days recently. When organising training for tutors I am always conscious that:
          *the tutors are volunteers and have busy lives elsewhere
          *the students benefit most when our programme runs 4x per week
However, from time to time the students are unable to come to reading because of special assemblies or sporting events and these provide an opportunity for tutor-only sessions. Fortunately I was able to take advantage of two such events earlier this month.

It has been encouraging to see (and hear) tutors implementing some of the strategies around decoding that we discussed in our sessions.

We also discussed having a goal of the students ending up with a zero in the box named 'errors', and ways we can make this happen. This idea came from a discussion we had about some notes I had taken from Laughton King's book, Reaching the Reluctant Reader, where he writes about motivation using the analogy of investment and pay-off.

All the tutors who came to the 'refresher' sessions expressed their appreciation for the content and the chance to discuss with one another the issues they have in common in regards to helping our students become successful readers.

Thursday, 1 September 2016


1st September 

This term is the term when some of the tutors fly away for the winter, to warmer climes! Others have experienced ill-health or had family members needing major surgery. As a result, the students have not always had their usual tutors and this has impacted negatively on the consistency in the programme.
But spring has arrived, and with it, the return of most of the tutors. Yay!!

The focus continues to be on reading mileage with tutors supporting students with decoding problems and comprehension of text. The underlying strength of this programme is always the positive, trusting relationship between tutor and student. By this time of the year, the tutors have a pretty good idea of what each individual student's strengths and weaknesses are in regards to reading and we - the tutors and I - have come up with ways to attempt to 'plug the gaps'.

I have begun to run 'refresher' sessions following on, and adding to, the PD we did in the first term. The emphasis this time is decoding strategies including:
 *short vowel sounds (there is a visual card in the boxes to use to support this)
 *making syllables
 *making words into 'pictures' by drawing around them (for visual learners)
 *using flash cards to promote fast recognition of letters/sounds(for some students only)

Many of our students are making significant progress towards reading @ an age-appropriate level.