This little piggy…
By Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.
This might be a fun and traditional English language nursery rhyme, but we can use it to draw some light hearted parallels with how reading is approached in primary schools today:
This primary teacher had guided reading,
This primary teacher had whole class,
This primary teacher got to use iPads,
This primary teacher did not,
And this primary teacher went wee wee wee wee all the way home… to spend hours marking!
Obviously this is intended as a bit tongue in cheek, but hopefully it illustrates my point that reading can be approached very differently in any two primary schools – in the same way that any two pupils can have a different starting point when it comes to their reading ability (think Assessment without Levels…).
During my most recent time in the classroom, I taught at a school where guided reading was the preferred approach, and while it was very labour intensive (even with the support of Teaching Assistants) it was without doubt an extremely effective teaching method. The one-to-one reading time gave me the opportunity to better understand progress individuals were making and identify where they needed support.
I’ve also seen whole class reading used as a productive and engaging way of inspiring a love for reading. What seems to be quite a popular approach currently, whole class reading affords the opportunity to stimulate group discussion and a fun forum where you can also hold group quizzes on various parts of the book content. In these circumstances, it is harder to determine individual pupil progress, which is why programmes like Accelerated Reader can really help as the child can take a quiz after reading a book and the instant feedback on progress can be provided by the technology.
In my experience, somewhere between guided and whole class reading probably best balances good practice and practicality… and based on this, I wanted to share a few pointers that I have found particularly useful over the years:
These are obviously just based on my own experiences. What I would really love is to hear how other primary teachers are creatively addressing the reading challenges in your classrooms, and inspiring even the most relucant readers to engage with turning a page… If you’d like to get in touch, please do via our Facebook page.
In the meantime, this little piggy is off to make a cup of tea!
Strategic Education Manager
Margaret Allen is Strategic Education Manager for Primary schools at Renaissance Learning. She uses practical experience from her time teaching in primary classrooms to help teachers across the UK to get the most out of Accelerated Reader.