Literacy Intervention Activities

Literacy Intervention activities undertaken at The Marches School

Phonics Intervention: Read Write Inc. Fresh Start
Students in the lowest sets in Year 7 are piloting a new scheme of additional literacy support in boosting basic skills through enhancing their phonics decoding skills through the Ruth Miskin ‘Read Write Inc.’ scheme. This programme will consist of 7 hours per week of phonics, English and Humanities learning combined and is being led by Lindsey Whitaker. Teachers within the English Faculty, across the Multi Academy Trust, that have been trained specifically within the programme are: Philip Reynolds (SJT) and Philip Griffin, Michael Kemble, Rebecca Mullane, and Lindsey Whitaker (The Marches). There is also a range of staff within the SEN Department that support in-class delivery of the programme and provide further phonics intervention with smaller groups.

Read Write Inc., developed by Ruth Miskin, provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching literacy. It is used by more than a quarter of the UK’s primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. Each Read Write Inc. programme booklet meets the higher expectations of the new curriculum and uses effective assessment to accelerate every child’s progress.

Read Write Inc. Fresh Start, the programme that we use, is a phonics intervention for struggling readers in KS2 and KS3. Read Write Inc. Fresh Start, developed by Ruth Miskin, is a phonics intervention that gets struggling readers and writers at the expected level for accessing the secondary school curriculum. The programme itself:

  • Uses rigorous assessment so every child is taught at the right level
  • Engages older children with age-appropriate comic strips, quizzes, amusing stories and edgy non-fiction texts
  • Uses simple and effective spelling strategies to increase confidence when writing.

For further information about the programme and to see some examples of the resources used during the phonics session, please see the OUP website:

Year 7 Literacy Intervention Groups
Literacy intervention classes run alongside Phonics classes and are provided to pupils who have low literacy levels. These classes are taught by three members of the English Department who have either attended Ruth Miskin training externally or have been trained in school by Lindsey Whitaker or Michael Kemble.

In 2016/2017, 25 year 7 pupils were provided with additional support twice a week. These pupils were not placed on the Phonics intervention programme as it was felt that their areas of weakness were not centred on severe issues with spelling and reading. Instead these pupils have required intervention with areas such as: structuring sentences, paragraphing and word classes.

The individual teachers have created schemes of work according to the individual needs of the class and have closely monitored their progress. Pupils have completed activities on:

  • Different types of nouns, focusing on: common, proper, abstract
  • Paragraphs
  • Adjectives
  • Writing in first person and creating an autobiography
  • Reading ‘Our Day Out’ to put literacy skills into practice while writing about a text they are studying
  • Punctuation activities- specifically full stops, commas and semi-colons
  • Extended writing, including writing diary entries
  • Script writing
  • Clauses and word order
  • Creating a webpage
  • Improving vocabulary by creating their own cartoon character
  • Descriptive writing skills

Reading Rangers

This is the third year that the English department have been running a peer-reading scheme called Reading Rangers. It is a peer-reading scheme designed to provide catch-up intervention for pupils performing below expectations for their age.

In 2016/2017 over 55 students in Year 10 and 12 have volunteered to become coaches. The coaches have been helping students to record their reading targets and also help them use Accelerated Reader to quiz on books keeping them motivated and acting as a positive role model from within our school community.

After delivering an assembly to year 12, a number of pupils volunteered to act as coaches. These pupils were then given a training session on the use of phonics and also given details on what is required of them in their role as a coach.

The pupils from year 7 and 8 were selected based upon the following criteria:

  • They had a reading age below their expected level which was generated from the initial testing at the start of the year.
  • They had to be recommended by their class teacher as needing the specific intervention to help build their confidence with reading and comprehension.
  • The pupils were primarily selected from the bottom 2 sets in each year group but were also opened up to some of the higher sets if they had a low reading age and their teacher thought it would benefit them.
  • Student Support Services also recommended a list of 8 pupils that they felt would benefit from the programme and these were included.
  • Pupil Premium students from the names put forward from class teachers were given priority places.

Rationale for the programme

  • Lack of confidence and negative attitudes to reading can affect performance and make it difficult for pupils to improve
  • Reading improves with practice – some pupils read poorly because they have read so little.
  • The ability of some pupils to benefit from independent reading is limited by a lack of knowledge of the world of books so that they consistently fail to select from an appropriate range of texts.
  • Some pupils need additional tuition to bring them up to expected standards.
  • Some pupils respond well to individual coaching as it increases motivation.
  • Coaching can be focused effectively by an appropriate short-term target.

Coaching Strategy

  • Reading Buddies/Rangers arrange to meet their allocated pupil once a week during Reading School.
  • Each meeting follows the following format.
  1. Firstly, ask the student about what they have been reading since the last meeting.
  2. Give lots of praise to the student for any reading that they have completed, for example, if they have met their reading target for the week or finished reading a book.
  3. 10-15 mins – Listen to the student read then briefly discuss the story.
  4. Fill in the student’s reading log and set a manageable target for the next meeting.
  5. If an option, help the student quiz on completed book through Accelerated Reader.

Literacy Intervention Activities