Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Term One - Finding and Plugging the Gaps!

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.   

Monday, 27 February 2017

Starting Out in 2017

The priority learners I will be working with this year are drawn from several Year 7 & 8 classes. They are all Year 8 students who have reading ages of 8 - 8.5 years and are 12 or almost 12 years old as at the beginning of the year. There are 5 students in the group and we meet 4 days a week for 30 minutes during their literacy rotation.

From the end of 2016 running record testing results I discovered that all these students had some struggles with decoding strategies (or lack of them!); vocabulary knowledge; and comprehension at higher levels.

My interventions will involve specific, systematic teaching of decoding strategies from sounds and words that follow regular patterns to those that are irregular and more complex. The students will be introduced to high-interest, non-fiction texts to build vocabulary knowledge and comprehension. 

I expect to spend more time on skill building at the beginning and more time on vocabulary and comprehension as the year progresses.

My goal is for each student to make at least 12 months progress in reading and for there to be some carry-over to other curriculum areas.