'Reading is a complex process involving a network of cognitive actions that work together to construct meaning.' (Baker & Brown, 1984)
NBSS research has pointed to the association between failure with reading and behaviour difficulties. For example, an exploration of the reading ages of students (N=2187) receiving NBSS Level 3 behavioural support from the Spring Term 2009 to the Spring Term 2012 revealed that 66.3% (N=1450) of students were reading three or more years below their chronological age. Additionally, 4.3% (N=96) of the students receiving NBSS Level 3 support had reading ages of 7 years or less.
The negative effect of poor reading skills are well documented and wide ranging, for example poor academic achievement, low self-esteem, lower motivation to read, disengagement with learning and school, and behavioural problems.
Greg Brooks (2007) in his review of ‘What works for pupils with literacy difficulties’, noted that ‘although good classroom teaching is the bedrock of effective practice, most research suggests that children falling behind their peers need more help than the classroom normally provides. This help requires coordinated effort and training’. For some students, a tightly focused group intervention will be sufficient to allow them to develop their reading skills and build their confidence to engage more actively in the learning process, while other students need intensive and individualised interventions.
The diversity of student needs, learning style, teaching style and classroom conditions that exist in any school means that no one ‘right’ strategy or programme holds the answer to addressing literacy difficulties. However, using evidence-based programmes as ONE element of targeted support can play an important role in a school’s repertoire of prevention and intervention supports for students. Corrective Reading is one of several interventions that NBSS partner schools implement to support reading and literacy skills development - other interventions include, for example, the use of Catch Up Literacy; Toe by Toe; Acceleread Accelewrite; Rapid Plus; Vocabulary Enrichment; Bridge to Vocabulary; SNIP Literacy programme; The Wordsworth programme; Spell Write Right, among others.
The Corrective Reading programme is designed to address deficiencies in decoding and comprehension and is suitable for readers of all ages and skills levels. It is made up of two major strands – Decoding and Comprehension.
The Decoding strand provides a blend of teacher-directed instruction and high frequency practice to accelerate decoding. This programme progresses from teaching letter sounds and blending to reading passages typical of textbook material. The Comprehension strand is designed for students who read without understanding and aims to develop vocabulary, information and comprehension strategies – applying prior knowledge, making inferences and analysing evidence.
Two NBSS partner schools, participating in the Teacher as Researcher project, have piloted the use of the Corrective Reading Programme (SRA) with students. In one school two teachers used the Corrective Reading Programme (SRA) with two separate groups - six 1st year students and a group of five 2nd and 3rd year students, every day, for 40-80 minutes over two months following on-site training sessions with the NBSS in the operation of the programme. The following are the quantitative findings.
At the commencement of the intervention, the eleven students all had reading ages more than 3 years lower than their chronological ages.
The mean chronological age of the cohort at the start of the intervention was 13.7 years (the median and mode chronological ages were both 13.4 years).
The mean pre-intervention reading age of the group was 9 years (the median reading age was 8.11 years)
Post intervention, the mean reading age was 10 years (both the median and mode reading ages were 10 years 10 months).