Reading is the gateway to learning, yet only 62% of disadvantaged children aged 6-11 meet the expected standard for reading, compared to 80% of their better-off peers.
Are You Really Reading? is an ambitious project that uses 5 innovative techniques, incorporating hashtags and emojis, to help children truly understand what they are reading.
With support from SHINE, the project is improving the reading skills of thousands of children across the North West.
It is also helping teachers rediscover a love of teaching reading.
Project lead Maddy Barnes, from the Three Saints Academy Trust, says the project is making a significant difference to students’ reading skills and that the children themselves “can recognise they are making progress”.
The 5 strands
Are You Really Reading? consists of 5 'strands' which can be used with fiction; non-fiction; poetry and song lyrics:
TIMELINES: Using timelines as a visual tool for students to record 5 key events from the text, helping them develop a chronological understanding.
HASHTAGS: Summarising what's been read using hashtags. This approach encourages students to create short, 6-word or less summaries with a focus on creativity, wordplay, and references to popular sayings or song lyrics.
EMOJIS: Inferring characters' emotions using emojis and providing evidence from the text to justify their inferences. This strategy promotes emotional intelligence and self-expression while honing the skill of identifying feelings in the text.
MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS: Identifying the top 5 significant events or themes from the text. This method sparks engaging discussions among students, as they compare similarities and differences in their choices, leading to a shared reading experience.
SCAFFOLDING: Summarising impressions of chunks of text. Students support their answers with evidence from the reading material.