Andrew Riley, KS2 Lead and Year 6 Teacher, spoke to Reading Solutions UK about the school’s effective implementation of Reading Plus and how they utilised the reports from the previous academic year to prepare their Year 6 pupils for SATs exams.
Effective Implementation and Specific Targeting
“Within school, we aim for pupils to complete 3 x 30 minute sessions of Reading Plus per week. However, this usually becomes 4 x 30 minute sessions, as we have seen great gains in our children’s reading rates and their comprehension abilities.
By integrating Reading Plus into the school week, the key impact has been in improving specific reading skills (the Anchors), plus the barriers of fluency and speed have also significantly reduced. This allows us to focus on skill-specific targets.
Engaging with text on screen seems to be less stressful for the children in our school. The content is certainly more interesting than looking at past papers! With improved pace, vocabulary knowledge and self-esteem (after chasing all those combos) our children knew that they could get through a test with at least a great chance; there was nobody without a good chance.”
Using the Reports to Your Advantage
“The reports that Reading Plus generate are very beneficial. It saves us hours in comparison to poring over paper copies of past test papers. The depth of data highlighted consistent flaws in a child’s reading skills and they really helped with our plan of attack for pushing data on as the year progressed.
The program has helped me to isolate skill sets using the Skills Summary Report. I can identify common areas for improvement so that every child receives reading intervention from me which is of great benefit to them. With the right data sets, there has never been a need for a ‘special help’ group – children don’t need to be taken aside highlighting that they weren’t good enough or couldn’t manage.
I feel much more informed about where the gaps are, what I need to address and who it needs addressing with. Whittling down these gaps takes time, a lot of effort and determination from the children, but I am so much more focused in my teaching thanks to Reading Plus.”
“Undoubtedly; as the threshold kept rising on SATs tests, I found myself during last year investigating just how the school could achieve a huge increase in mark yield, given that the lack of reading at home is such a phenomenal challenge. We only have six hours a day to expose the children to language and literature.
I still hadn’t answered that puzzling question until Reading Plus suddenly had children keen to read more in school and more at home. In a class who were significantly below national averages in their Year 5 tests (2018), they exceeded national expectations in Year 6 (2019). Progress scores for some were stratospheric and as a cohort we are expecting their KS2 progress to be within the top 2-3% in the country.”
“We have extended the amount of licences in school. Year 5 will be increasing their time as we have juggled IT resources to accommodate two whole classes using the program three times per week. We are also extending the usage into Year 4; if we can drive progress now with those children, we are hoping to have them secure by Year 6 and reduce the ‘gap-filling’ if we can.
For my own class, Year 6, I will be making sure that I track their skills more carefully well before SATs prep gets underway from March. That way there will be fewer surprises and I can carry on with more targeted teaching to avoid the sledgehammer approach of full-length past papers.”