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How data from Reading Plus helped teach reading as a skill for learning in KS3

King Edwards VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys in Birmingham were looking for a bespoke programme of data and interventions to improve reading speed, fluency and comprehension.

Since using Reading Plus, data and insight from the programme have encouraged the school to adapt its curriculum and has honed its teaching methods. The result? Improved reading levels and cross-curriculum learning.

Here, Head of English, and Evidence Lead in Education (ELE) with EEF, Gaurav Dubay, explains in more detail how Reading Plus provided a solution to improving reading in KS3:

How has reading improved at KS3?

Before we implemented Reading Plus, reading engagement was generally good in the lower years but fluctuated in year 9. Students tended to read, on average, for about one hour a week. Since using Reading Plus, reading levels have improved, particularly in encouraging older students to continue reading.

Supporting good teaching first

Reading Plus has helped us to hone our teaching skills to support learning in the curriculum. The programme stands with other strategies in this regard to improve teaching and learning. The programme has helped to teach reading as a skill for learning. It has benefited students across the curriculum which is helped by the range of text types on offer.

Why Reading Plus?

Reading Plus really helps us to focus on the components of reading rather than something arbitrary like reading age. It means we can intervene with authority at classroom level – evidence suggests that this has the greatest impact.

Whilst we looked at many programmes, we thought that Reading Plus, unlike others, was not open to ‘cheating’ as other systems were as the texts are bespoke and not available elsewhere.

Bespoke interventions

The bespoke interventions, regardless of ability level, were a big plus. Success is built into every part of the programme. It keeps students engaged and they love getting their certificates.

Using Reading Pus InSights to inform the curriculum and teaching methods

The InSights (assessments) are very useful particularly in helping us to spot trends. This does, of course, feed our planning. We adapt the curriculum/teaching methods based on the data we receive. For instance, a number of year 8 students needed support in the anchor skill of ‘reasoning and rhetoric’. The interventions were helpful but also influenced our teaching and so we adapted our internal assessments to reflect the need for additional teaching here.

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