Poor kids get ReadWriteInc – they’re PP you see and as everything is costed, it is considered that scarce resources should be spent on something tangible to measure progress. The Reading for Pleasure initiative from the Book Trust is not easily measured. Teachers tell the senior team that it’s lovely, they are seeing real enthusiasm from the children and to be able to give good quality fiction away is a gift which keeps on giving. Well, how can we measure that on a spreadsheet? It’s not worth it.
But says a teacher, the PP children are likely to benefit most aren’t they? They may not have books at home.
The head shrugs, it’s not measurable and they need help with their reading so they get ReadWriteInc.
Elsewhere in the DFE, while libraries close in schools they think literacy hubs should be created. Children don’t need libraries, they need to decode.
As kids take art the ones who can’t decode do ReadWriteInc.
As kids have assemblies the ones who can’t read do ReadWriteInc.
The kids who can’t read often can’t do maths either so when the others are learning a rich curriculum, they’re learning phonics and memorising their times tables.
Their curriculum is narrowed and stripped to make sure they know their 7 times tables and how to split a digraph.
If they’re PP they need this stuff – it frees up their working memory as it all goes into their long term memory.
What if they can’t retrieve it?
Well that’s where retrieval practice comes in.
They memorise, they retrieve and repeat.
But they have memory and retrieval difficulties.
Well, they just have to do it more.
In art, in drama, in PE.
Oral language is ignored in this barren diet, social communication is invisible and peer to peer learning non existent, replaced instead with TA to child decoding, times tables, times tables, decoding.
We want our children to learn to read and do their times tables but when do they learn the other bits?