At Reading Solutions UK, Ian predominantly works with schools that have identified a need to develop pupils’ comprehension, fluency and vocabulary as well as the need to engage pupils who are reluctant and disengaged readers.
Reading Development Consultant
We catch up with Ian here, to find out more about him…
What did you do before becoming a Reading Development Consultant at Reading Solutions UK?
All sorts! Before I was a teacher, I was a postman, a waiter, a carpet-cutter and a chef, with lots of weird and wonderful jobs in between.
Teaching took me through to senior leadership and consultancy before I left it behind to set up my own self-publishing business. This became a side-project when having experienced the benefits of Reading Plus at a school I worked at, I decided to focus on becoming a Reading Development Consultant for the programme.
What attracted you to the education sector?
I originally trained as an English teacher to pass on my love of reading and writing. I eventually became a Head of English, and then Director of English developing curriculum, pedagogy, and leadership across 10 academies. I was also the Vice Principal of a secondary school and Deputy Head of a Middle School. Reading unlocks everything and makes you curious about the world and your place in it. Working with Reading Plus allows me to have an impact on a massive scale, to help children develop into lifelong readers.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative. Motivated. Smiley.
Tell us more about your role at Reading Solutions UK?
I work with teachers and senior leaders to implement Reading Plus in schools.
This involves training educators in the pedagogy and efficacy of the programme, helping them to understand how it adapts and scaffolds to the needs of the children, and to interpret the valuable reports Reading Plus provides. All the texts are original and commissioned to be of age-appropriate and high interest – I also work to proofread them and ensure they cover broad cultural contexts.
What do you enjoy most about being a Reading Development Consultant?
I believe in Reading Plus. One of the last things I did as a Deputy Head was to purchase the programme for my school. My daughter also uses it in her school, and she loves it.
It works because it is the result of a century’s worth of research. There is a real science and passion behind it, and children become stronger, motivated, and engaged readers. The biggest barrier to accessing education is inefficient fluency and Reading Plus helps children to overcome this.
We all work well as a team at Reading Solutions UK and we are all passionate about helping schools achieve the best possible results.
When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?
I’m doing a masters in creative writing, so I enjoy learning and improving the craft and am currently developing a series of short stories for my coursework. I like to spend time with my wife and daughter and taking our dog for walks. We live near the coast, so we get to spend plenty of time by the sea.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your instincts. Be yourself. Find something you enjoy doing and it doesn’t feel like work.
What was your favourite childhood book?
‘The Colour of Magic’ by Terry Pratchett. Mad characters and world-building, with one of the best opening sentences ever: ‘In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part …’
What piece of tech can you not live without and why?
Probably an Echo Dot. We constantly have music, podcasts and noise going on in the house.
If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
To freeze time, mostly so that I could prank people.