A review of Reading Plus by Shareen Wilkinson - Education Consultant, Teacher, and Educational Author
“Compared to other programmes available, this one seems to be heavily evidence-informed and provides an opportunity to develop not just comprehension, but also reading fluency.”
Review of Reading Plus
Due to the unprecedented school closures during the global pandemic, schools are becoming more and more competent at using technology to enhance teaching and learning. The Reading Plus programme supports both in school and at home learning and cleverly combines technology with improving reading. It is impressively grounded in evidence-informed research and combines comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and written reading responses.
In addition, Reading Plus has a wide selection of texts that the pupils can read, using a Guided Window to support fluency. Once they have finished, there is a range of comprehension questions and support for pupils. Pupils move to more challenging texts once they have completed a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts.
The Guided Window
One of the unique features is the Guided Window. This evidence-informed system displays pages of text using a filter, but the text is legible only through a window that moves from left to right over the lines of text at a student’s individualised reading rate. Most importantly, this supports pupils with their fluency skills and keeps students’ eyes focussed on reading the relevant material. Indeed, this reduces the cognitive load for pupils. Crucially, this then adapts to whole text and gradually releases the scaffold. This is particularly helpful for teachers who would like to adapt their teaching to include all learners, but particularly those who need this scaffolding.
The comprehension section guides students who answer questions incorrectly, and a side box reveals the text they need to refer to, so they can scan for the answers. Awards are used throughout to support reading motivation.
A salient point to note is that a variety of texts are covered to meet the needs of a diverse range of readers, and there are also opportunities to write responses to the texts read.
Range of texts
A selection of texts covers fiction and non-fiction, with various topics, including historical texts. Interestingly, there is a plethora of diverse reading material so that all children can see themselves within the text. There are opportunities to read about famous sports people and explore history, music, and science. Also, a helpful filter enables students to select a topic of interest, e.g., sports.
The vocabulary section is strongly grounded in research and has a range of vocabulary for students to explore. It sensibly starts with unpicking the definition of a word before demonstrating an understanding of the word in context, thus building a repertoire of words for children to use and understand.
“This programme is excellent for schools that want a programme for all learners, especially SEND learners, who would like to raise the profile of reading and reading fluency across their school or trust.”
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