How Reading Plus kept children's reading up-to-speed during the Covid-19 lockdown
“I would highly recommend the reading programme for other schools. It has certainly changed our children’s attitudes towards reading, and they enjoy participating in friendly competition with their peers.”
Michael Suthers, English Lead and Year 5 Teacher at Pallister Park Primary School in Middlesborough, shares with us the impact Reading Plus has had on pupils:
Did Reading Plus fit with your children’s home learning?
Reading Plus was one of the most effective ways in which we could ensure children were working at home as it was monitored by all staff. We wanted to ensure that the children were keeping up to speed with their learning. To have a programme that enabled children to access texts and comprehension pitched strategically at their level has been a huge bonus.
Did the children use the messaging function to communicate with their class teachers?
The messaging function proved to be particularly useful as we could personalise the children’s learning, making sure that they had contact with their class teacher.
How did the messaging function support parents?
We often found that we could answer some of the concerns of our parents through this particular feature, meaning that we could maintain close relationships while children were learning at home.
How did Reading Plus support you with your children’s learning and reading development?
One of our biggest concerns (during the lockdown) was ensuring that children could access learning remotely. We managed to set up an efficient system, but participation was variable across the school. Many of our children didn’t have access to sufficient electronic devices, laptops, etc. – as opposed to phones and consoles.
We also had some concerns that we were asking a lot of parents – and providing them with content with which they may have been unfamiliar.
Ongoing access to online platforms that were already in circulation – and that our children were already proficient in using – was probably our best chance at making sure we could develop the children’s key skills.
From a reading point of view, Reading Plus was integral to this plan. It also helps that the programme can be used on a wide variety of electronic devices.
Reading Plus actually allowed us to teach the subject of reading to each child on an individual basis – and gather enough information to let us see whether that child was making progress or not.
From a personal point of view, I had much more time to focus purely on the data that the programme made available to us and provide a tailor-made education plan for a wide range of abilities.
It gave us a level of security which meant that we didn’t have to worry too much about the level of literature children were accessing because the programme was so effective in providing that content.
We also knew that we could control the fluency in which children were reading because the programme also regulates this. And the children were answering a range of question types, which was something we wouldn’t easily have been able to monitor throughout lockdown.
Now that your children are back to school, has Reading Plus become a part of your catch-up programme and/or homeschool offer?
Reading Plus has become a key part of our catch-up reading programme in school. It’s also been useful on a practical level because the children aren’t able to handle their books as much as they could before.
With only limited opportunities to change their texts, Reading Plus offers a fantastic alternative to fill a gap in their learning. Now that staff are more familiar and confident with the programme, we’re also seeing it being used to its full potential within our year group bubbles.
Would you recommend the Reading Plus programme?
The Reading Solutions support team has been in constant contact with the school and me since the beginning of lockdown. They clearly have their eye on the ball in terms of providing realistic and reliable strategies for learning when children are not physically able to be in the school building. The customer service they have provided has always been excellent.
Piloting the programme alone was enough to convince us that Reading Plus was worth the investment, and we have not looked back since.
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