I was in Pinkie St Peter’s primary School this afternoon and spent most of my time in the P1 and P1/2 classes.
I came across the idea of “reading jotters” for the first time – I’m sure they are in common use in many schools but as I’ve said on many occasions I’m still learning.
The two teachers – Sharon Dickson and Stephanie MacFadzean – both use a similar system to improve reading skills where they get children to scan texts which have been copied into their jotters to identify key words in context. The children then highlight these words using highlighters. The next stage is to get children to identify whole phrases and to sequence them in the correct order. This took me back to the idea of quizzes as used in Accelerated reading – “this is great fun” said one of the children.
A parellel strategy – which Stepanie has introduced - is to get the children to “predict” what might happen next at the conclusion of a text – this isn’t an imaginative exercise but actually requires quite sophisticated decoding skills. What I found particularly significant was that Stephanie has brought this technique from her recent experience of teaching P7 children – she didn’t consider that it might be too hard for the infants and they have responded superbly.
It’s this kind of tranfer of experience between stages which confirms for me the benefits of an all through primary school . Now if only we could get such a transfer of techniques and personnel between primary and secondary schools!