Think2Read’s whole school approach to comprehension skills is getting rave reviews from Heads, Teachers, Children, Parents and Ofsted. Here’s a flavour of what’s being said about our rethink on reading.
What Heads and teachers say…..
‘…As well as being incredibly child-friendly, the Think2Read programme presents the strategies for reading in a really clear way to the teachers. It identifies the range of skills the children need and gives teachers a way to help them acquire them progressively.’
‘At our school almost all pupils have English as an additional language. The largest groups are Pakistani and Roma\ Slovak-heritage pupils. Historically, the school had struggled with reading. However, we recorded a 30 percent improvement in expected progress in a single year; 92 percent for Year 6 in expected progress for KS2 programme using Think2Read. Patricia Gavins, Principle of Whetley Primary Academy, Bradford. Extract from Times Education Supplement article, 2015
‘We’ve taken on the Think2read programme as a whole school approach because I wanted to take the school further. Think2Read gives support to the teachers because it has got a specific framework for teaching ideas. The teachers really love it and the children have really taken to it like ducks to water. The downloadable materials are excellent and they are based on ‘real books’ which is absolutely invaluable – and they are very easy to download. It is also very good value for money compared to many other schemes and resources because it is a one-off cost. ‘ Head teacher Robert James, Coed-y-lan Primary, Pontypridd Wales, 2013
‘Even after only a few ‘Story Talk’ sessions in class, it is clear that the Think2Read bookmarks are helping to both encourage and develop talk in the classroom. The discussions from ‘Story Talk’ sessions have already led to some lovely writing, and the children have approached these writing tasks with much more confidence’. Head of Foundation – Jodie’s Jay, Coed-y-lan Primary School Pontypridd. S. Wales, 2014
‘I don’t buy packages of resources and schemes – but when I saw the think2read philosophy and focus on reading and thinking skills and how it fitted in with what we were already doing in the school, I decided to buy-in the whole-school programme. It very quickly began to help our children to speak, think and question more meaningfully and confidently across the school. Think2read is helping us to close the attainment gap and is giving the children the reading and thinking skills they need to equip them for the future’. Executive Head teacher, Nicola Thorpe, Worsbrough Bank End Primary, Barnsley, 2014
‘I think the ‘Story Talk’ workshops are a really good way of introducing Think2Read and the reading skills to young children to get them reading a lot sooner and enjoying books. And I think the workshops with parents are absolutely fantastic because not only are the children engaging in books with their parents, but the parents are learning how to support their children with reading so they’re using the same strategies at home as we are in school.’ Reception/Year 1 teacher, Worsbrough Bank End Primary, Barnsely
The impact of the ‘TEAM-building’ programme has been obvious. The language development of the children has improved. Their responses in class discussions are more detailed and they refer specifically to questions or the statements made by peers. Their ability to work as a team has also improved. In a local authority supported review an observation in my class noted some children’s lack of skill in working in groups without adult intervention, whereas in recent observations the children’s independent and group working skills have been noted as a strength.’ Rebecca Thomas Walling Primary, Newcastle, 2013
‘Reading SATS results for our 75 Year 6 children were 92% this year with the children achieving mostly Level 4 and 5s. Reading skills have had an impact across the curriculum. Inspectors to the school were impressed by the children’s ability to self-evaluate and work collaboratively. Another teacher commented on how able she is to step back from the class activities because the children are so much more independent during group-work using their roles’. Craig Wilkinson Literacy Co-ordinator. Leighswood Primary, Walsall
‘90% of our 51 children achieved level 4 and above this year. This was made up of 39% at level 4 and 51% at level 5!’ Dartington Primary School, Devon Year 6 Sats reading results
‘After only two terms the children are not only developing a love of reading, they are also acquiring an understanding of why we read. The lesson plans and resources allow for plenty of teacher/children and child/child interaction. All of the children can access the lesson content due to the variety of teaching styles the lessons encompass. It is wonderful to see all the children in the class (abilities ranging from P8 through to level 3) participating in the lessons and succeeding. As a result self-esteem and confidence among the children has been greatly boosted.’
Bea Gill, Year 2 teacher, Dartington Primary School, Devon
‘Just to say ‘Thanks’ for the Think2Read training and resources – staff can’t wait to get started now with ‘Story Talk’ in Foundation following the rise in reading results in KS1 and KS2 after using the ‘Reading Mission’ resources. Literacy co-ordinator, Reedeswood Primary Academy, Birmingham, 2014
‘My Y6 class found the SPEC skills particularly helpful. They learned them quickly and referred to them continually in their guided reading sessions. They learned to use skimming and scanning effectively, quickly identifying key words in comprehension questions and using them to find the relevant part of the text. I feel that the way the programme addresses specific skills explicitly enables the children to understand clearly what they need to do, and all children, including SEN, have benefited from the programme.’ Sally Blake, Y6 teacher, Worsbrough Bank End Primary School, 2014
What Ofsted and experts says….
‘Standards in reading especially are improving. Pupils report that they welcome the whole-school focus on reading. The (Think2Read) accelerated reading programme has encouraged more pupils, and especially boys, to read for pleasure. Those heard reading by inspectors reported that they enjoyed reading both in and out of school, and parents who spoke with inspectors confirmed this.’ Ofsted report following visit to Whetley Primary Academy, Bradford, 2014.
‘My main impression of the Think2Read lessons is that there is far more pupil-talk than teacher-talk in the classroom. Pupils are being given good opportunities to explain their thinking and are developing great competence in this. I think some of the work expected by the programme is quite challenging, both in terms of fitting everything into a lesson and in terms of the thinking needed by children. However, whole classes respond very well to the challenge and, particularly in Y6, are developing discussion skills that will remain with them for life. It has been a real pleasure to see this in action. I now frequently recommend Think2Read to teachers who want reading support in particular for EAL learners, because of the strong emphasis the programme has on collaborative discussion of text and the mixed ability groupings. I also believe the programme is very good value for money. Schools can make good use of pupil premium funding for a low one off payment for the programme. Teachers find the downloadable lesson plans and teacher guidance clear and easy to follow and the interactive whiteboard resources and characters that represent each strategy really engage the children and help them to remember each skill.’ May Maybank, Language/EAL Consultant, Walsall, 2014
‘Think2Read’s whole-school programme is the first step if you want to establish independent learning and enquiry across the curriculum’. Judy Clark, Primary Advisor, National Literacy Trust 2014
‘When teachers follow the Think2Read programme carefully and are fully committed to it, children make good progress in reading.’ Professor Ros Fisher, Exeter University paper presented to the UKLA conference, 2009
‘Team-building’ is an impressive programme, I think you have created a very valuable resource”. Rob Long, Pyschologist and Behaviour Management Specialist, Devon LEA, 2012
What the children say…………
Lauren (Year 2) ‘It gives you confidence to do the things you were scared to do before.’
Issie (Year 4) ‘It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the answer (to questions) because you can begin a wonderful learning journey where you can explore further.’
Evie: (Year 3) ‘It is basically like a massive treasure map. You dig and dig – it never ends. You keep on asking questions to ‘see it all’ properly. It really helps you to understand.’
Max: (Year 4) I’ve learned how to debate and discuss. I used to think that it was just talking and it was boring – but now it feels a lot safer to disagree with others’.
Bruno: (Year 3) ‘I’ve learned how to be a good team mate. It is starting to be less argumentative and I’m making friends with everyone (in the team). At the beginning we didn’t know each other – we weren’t with our friends. Now we have more friends and we talk about our ideas.’
Orson: (Year 4) ‘I’ve learned that you sum up, look for clues, ask questions to find out more. You become more sensitive. I have learned to allow others to answer for themselves, but I report back when no one else (in the team) wants to and I stick up for others in the group.’
Evie: (Year 3) ‘I’ve learned that what you first hear might seem boring – but if you listen it can be interesting. I’m working better with my team. I can stand up for myself and say ‘can you stop please’. I can talk, disagree and agree easily.’
Amelia: (Year 4) ‘We have learned about organising stuff and sharing your thoughts with others which helps you when you are older.’
Evie (Year 3) I really like ‘Team-building’. My favourite role is the reporter because at the end of the day you get to get all of the information from the team and you get to tell it to the whole class.
What the parents say……
Interview with the parents who attended theThink2Read ‘Story Talk Family Workshop’, Worsbrough Bank End Primary, Barnsley, Yorkshire, 2014.
What do you feel now about reading books with your children?
‘The tools help you to guide your child through the story and find things to talk about, whereas before it would have just been going to a picture on a page and not knowing what to say. Now with the skills that we’ve learnt we can actually guide our children through the story from the start to the finish.’
‘These tools we’ve just learnt have shown us how to look at different things on the page and ask our children, ‘can you tell me what you think is going to happen?’ Reading at home is totally different now – the books seem totally different.’
‘It’s just made reading more enjoyable, instead of it just being about getting from the start to the end. It lengthens the time you can spend with your child reading by being able to predict, enquire and summarise. If I could just perfect the ‘zoom one’ I’d be away (laughter)’.
‘I’ve started to go out of the house and by some new books. I’ve bought my son a new book, just because I find that I’m bonding with him more and we’re enjoying it. Before there might have been 10 minutes of reading – now there’s 20 minutes of reading.’
‘Yes, we’ve picked up books that we’ve read to the death and it’s like a new book each time because you’re looking at it in a different way.’
‘Our Jim were less than 5 minutes reading a school book and then only once a week to try and have it in for his homework. Now we’ve been reading more, although it’s still hard to get him to interact with me but he’s getting there – a little bit at a time. I mean I was amazed when we were looking at the ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ and he was predicting and actually telling me the story! I didn’t even know he knew the ‘Hungry Caterpillar ‘because he weren’t reading it with me. So I was amazed at that. And he was going through it and he was telling me the whole story and I was like ‘wow’.