Soap approach helps reluctant readers


Most schemes for develop reading and spelling are dull. They focus on sounds and are slightly less interesting than a shopping list but now publishers are waking up to the need for attractive resources which will work on a range of devices.

Dockside from Rising Stars is a mixed media, "second chance" reading scheme aimed at older primary and secondary pupils who are struggling to read. It will be useful for children who have problems with sound letter correlation, some children with speaking and listening problems and pupils learning English as an additional language (EAL).

It starts with synthetic phonics activities so that pupils learn a sound and the different ways it can represented in the English language. A series of cards show the sound in different places in a word, for example "g" is found in hotdog, burger, goal, juggle and guitar. The scheme also includes pupil story booklets and audio e-books which can be used on interactive whiteboards or laptops or net books.
It was developed in conjunction with schools including Bradford Academy. Assistant vice-principal Nicky White describes how it came about:

"The students enjoyed soap opera stories such as Waterloo Road and Coronation Street so we wanted something where the students could engage with the same characters across the range of books but at their own level.

"We knew at this point what we wanted in terms of the stories and Dockside was formed; a block of flats in a town on the outskirts of a city where the core characters have their own personalities and issues, things that our students could relate to and engage with."

Key features:

• a soap opera approach
• cartoon-style pictures
• synthetic phonics
• develops visual literacy
• encourages an active approach to reading
• case studies and tips for teachers
• good for EAL learners too..

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