Reaping the Rewards: Midyear Testing!

 After making changes to my intervention over the course of the term, I was really excited to look at the progress that my literacy class had made and even more so to share the results with my learners. However, this has also been a bittersweet time for me as this is the end of my intervention - I am off on maternity leave next term. I can't help but wonder where we would have landed had I stayed the year.


                                 

At the beginning of the year, I identified a group of learners who had a reading age between 9 and 10 years. These students had even been stuck at one level for a while or had made minimal progress in the last couple of years. I also had a large group of students reading just below their biological age. 

                                   

At the end of term 2, every single child in my class has made at least six months progress. Woohoo! Interestingly, it was my boys who made the most progress. With many of them making over a year. This mirrors my 2018 inquiry, where my integrated approach to reading/writing and use of reciprocal reading proved really beneficial to my male students in particular. 

While two of my 9 year old readers only made six months progress, I have to remind myself that this is a big accomplishment for them as it's the first time they had moved in over a year. The other students in my target group made a years worth of progress, which I was overjoyed to see!

What worked?

I think overall it was the mileage the kids were getting that ensured they made progress. They read at least one journal story/article/chapter every single lesson and had to summarise or retell what they read. The fact that all students completed a novel study and learnt to follow a more complicated plot also helped in this area. Obviously to get better at reading to have to read!

The direct instruction strategies that I used were also helpful as I noted before, they worked well with my inquiry group in 2018, so it is no surprise I saw similar results. The children enjoyed discussing their own ideas through reciprocal reading which places a greater emphasis on the learners voice than the teachers. Getting them to be metacognitive and reflect on their understanding of a text has also proven really helpful in ensuring they focus on comprehension over decoding.

The vocabulary work that I have been doing, particularly focussing on grammar as suggested by Jannie Van Hees has also paid off.  The students were far more successful with the vocabulary in the text when I tested them this time compared to their tests in term one. However, increasing their vocabulary is still really important in the long run and I could have done far more with this in class in the beginning, as I picked it up towards the end of the intervention.

Where to next?

I will go back to collect student voice from my learners to hear what they thought helped them in reading and for feedforward to my return to teaching next year! 

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