As a teacher and a mum the article in the Telegraph this week stating that “one boy in ten starts secondary school with a reading age of seven or younger” should worry me, but it doesn’t. That’s because I have the knowledge and experience to help my son if he does start to fall behind with reading.
The business I am in, involves testing children’s reading, writing, spellings and maths. One of the most fundamental tests that I do is the reading test and I base all of the children’s work according to their reading age because there’s no point in teaching a child using books, worksheets or computer programmes that they cannot read.
Yet in schools, children’s reading doesn’t determine the level or work they do and it doesn’t get tested either? It seems to me that teachers either don’t have the time to help these struggling readers or don’t know how to help them.
Michael Gove plans to ensure that all children have a basic check done on their reading by the age of 6 “to ensure that they are reading properly, both that they are decoding the English language, in other words, they understand the individual letters, how they go together and how a word is made up.”
What is needed is a comprehensive reading scheme and suitable training of teachers to deliver this scheme correctly in schools. But why re-invent the wheel when I know of a reading scheme that does just that. In fact I’ll go one step further and say that the reading programme I use at my centre is one of the best out there, and who better to teach it than me (or my colleagues).