How do we teach reading and spelling?

A small but perfectly formed group met at St Gabriel’s on 18th May to discuss how we develop literacy skills.

We made some action points:

  • Resources: We felt that a list of resources used by SfL teachers in East Lothian would be helpful. This would not be ‘quality controlled’; with no evaluative comments. So I’m asking here for a quick note about relatively up-to-date materials (with publishers’ details) that you may use – readers, games, software, websites, etc. Post them here and get the ball rolling!
  • Software: We wanted to express some frustration at the numbers of uninstalled and therefore unused resources languishing in schools.
  • Dyslexia and National Testing: We agreed that it is essential to append a note detailing any significant support a child receives during a National Test. Every school may approach this differently. I think we are all aware that we can discount spelling and punctuation where appropriate.
  • Dyslexia Friendly Schools award: We felt that developing this might be a good way to encourage more staff to be aware of simple things (many found in Inclusive Practices) we can all do to enhance the learning experience of our pupils.

As well as practice we looked at a little theory:

Studies of the most literate and able children show that they have aspects of knowledge and skills or competencies that less successful learners do not have. These include:

  • Knowledge of literary forms, purposes and genre, including metalinguistic knowledge;
  • Skills and strategies for processing literary knowledge, including the ability to question, interrogate and discuss narrative texts;
  • Ability to apply and transfer their skills of narrative enquiry to other contexts. Fisher 1998

I think we all found the meeting helpful. I am happy to set up another in the autumn if people would like an opportunity to come along and talk about concerns/interests/ideas about how to progress understanding about Dyslexia in the region.Post here!

P.S People seemed pleased with the ‘Assessment Toolkit’ distributed last summer. Do let us know how you feel about it.

Study Skills and Strategies

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
Study Skills and Strategies
SQA has published a guide that is all about doing well in exams and fulfilling our potential. Entitled, Study Skills and Strategies it makes use of scientific research but also common sense and the everyday experiences of teachers and students. The guide acknowledges that hard work does not come easily to most of us and provides tips and advice on how to overcome natural laziness and how to go about things more efficiently.

 By the way, I don’t spend all day, every day trawling through the papers for education news. Somebody at LTS does and then sends it to my inbox. It’s a very useful facility:

Current Approaches to the Provision of Education for Children with Dyslexia

In March 2007, HMIE commissioned the SCRE Centre to undertake a review of the literature on the background to dyslexia, the range of teaching approaches used to teach children with dyslexia and the effectiveness of the various approaches.

They found that ‘a universal consensus on the precise nature of dyslexia has still to be reached. On a positive note, there now exist a vast and still growing number of psychologists, academics and researchers who support the view that the development of dyslexics’ phonological processing skills plays a significant role in helping them to learn to read’.

The SCRE Centre, University of Glasgow
Literature Review of Current Approaches to the Provision of Education for Children with Dyslexia appears to be a full and interesting report.

Laptops for Exams

Have a look at this from today’s news: 

The Herald
SQA to allow dyslexic students PCs in exams after trial success
Children with dyslexia in Scottish schools will be able to sit electronic exams rather than the traditional paper version after a successful pilot scheme. Scotland’s exam body has approved the scheme after a small study found that dyslexic pupils coped better with digital exams using laptops rather than having questions read to them and writing out answers in longhand.  The British Dyslexia Association has welcomed the move, which it said would give new independence to dyslexic learners.

Comments welcome!