Government figures obtained by the BBC Radio programme Today show that thousands of eleven year old boys are leaving primary school with a reading age of a seven year old. Michael Gove’s suggests a series of changes to improve this figure including; additional resources, teaching synthetic phonics, a reading MOT for six year olds and sacking Head Teachers of failing schools.
Mike Welsh of the National Association of Head teachers, commenting on the Today programme felt that these figures partly reflected children with special needs, and also children who may not be receiving the support for reading practice from home.
The question is ‘how do we help our children become competent readers?’
I came across an article recently from the RFB&D association in the USA which may suggest one possible solution. This teacher made effective use of audio books to encourage her pupils reading and to raise attainment. Her results have been wonderful.
I would like to add another thought to this use of audio books. Children need lots of home support when learning to read and if parents struggle to do this, then surely audio books could provide that bridge. Children and parents can listen and share the book together. Link these audio books to technology i.e. MP3 players and all of this strikes a familiar note with today’s children.