The energy of a new school year is incredibly positive and also very demanding. Some students will begin the term refreshed, starting the year with high aspirations, new stationery in their new school bags, whereas others will have anxiety or feel angry that the work ahead of them will be even more difficult to understand than it was the year before. Many will look forward to seeing classmates again, but socially less well-adjusted children, will dread a return to taunts and jibes and loneliness.
Many will be beginning the new school year with the best of intentions, wanting to please teachers, trying to organise themselves with greater success than before and to contribute in lessons. Some will lack motivation, and for complex reasons, will continue to struggle, as despite everyone’s best efforts, the school system does not really help them.
I am frequently inspired by children who do not understand what they read, but trust that with more reading practice, their experience of reading will become more rewarding. Unfortunately, practising reading as a decoding skill is not going to help them to achieve fluency and comprehension. Unless word recognition skills are integrated with the child’s speech and understanding of language, for example, through a reading intervention, a profound disconnection between these processes will persist.
Equally inspiring for me, are the teachers and classroom practitioners who are faced with the enormous task of teaching children with extraordinarily wide-ranging attitudes to learning. I see wonderful group teaching in classrooms week after week, year after year. We really should celebrate that we have such a high calibre workforce in our schools.
There are new case studies on our website, illustrating how the Rhythm for Reading programme continues to support teachers in resolving the difficulties that children experience with reading fluency and comprehension. Click the link to read more.