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What do people think of the Ruth Miskin approach to Literacy? (Read write inc)

Discussion in 'Personal' started by acertainsomething, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. acertainsomething

    acertainsomething Occasional commenter

    We are about to start this and it seems pretty intensive, however I like the idea of the reading week first and of teaching the writing in small chunks. Anyone have any views on this?
  2. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Some people will hate it.

    The school I taught in for almost a decade brought this in around 2006. It was a whole school programme, in a two form state school with 60+ languages spoken , inner London primary, with refugees, mid year leavers and entrants.

    The HT, DHT and Literacy leader decided first week in Autumn, every single child would a assessed on placed in groups according to knowledge regardless of age. Every single member of teaching and support staff were given a group an we all did the programme for 1hr. Depending on the size of the group, space varied- corridor, hall, class room etc. Final week at end of half term was assesment week, the groups changed because children usually progressed.

    After a year, EVERY (except Down syndrome, global delay other SEN) child made at least 1 level of progress.

    It was the single most significant, effective intervention I have ever seen in education. The HT bought the resources, ensured it was followed and it went like a dream. It was worth every penny of the £10,000 (inc initial training, resources, follow up training days, supply cover) that was spent. I know the price, I was a teacher governor.

    It has improved since then, the reading comprehension has improved, there are more genres..

    There are very few HT's who have the courage to take on something like that, she was one in a million. When I was informed that I needed to have surgery for to remove precancerous growths, she gave me a post out of class and let me introduce the New ICT curriculum, I did the RWI and assessments in the morning, and the afternoons I team taught ICT across the whole school.

  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It's boring to teach, but the children love the routine.
    It is dull at ditchwater, but effective as a phonics/reading/writing teaching scheme for rec/yr1.
    The reading books are tedious, but it is fab that those who only know a few GPCs can read a whole book by themselves.

    Once children are at more or less the old level 3, they need to move on to something more.
    But I like it for the beginners.

    Edited to add: My experience is in schools very different to @slingshotsally
    In a school like the one described there, probably it does work best as a whole school system. In the closer to 100% English as a first language, supportive parent, leafy lane schools of my experience, it is less needed in KS2.
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I don't like any scheme which claims to be the solution to all problems and makes you pay for resources.

    Do what works for the individual child.
  5. acertainsomething

    acertainsomething Occasional commenter

    So not great for Year 6 then?
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I can't bear it but I've retired so what do I know.

    Phonics is great for some kids and a waste of time for others because they pick it up in a different way. Also useless if you have (genuine) dyslexia as you can't even hear the sounds 'properly'.

    Don't get me started.

    If your school insists you do it then what options do you have?
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I added an edit.
    It really does depend on your school and the needs of the children.

    It is a good scheme and easy to pick up and teach.
    Year 6 may well love it in your place.
    If you have issues with decoding to read and/or SPAG it will be perfect.
    If the issue is more with ideas and imagination, possibly less so.
  9. acertainsomething

    acertainsomething Occasional commenter

    In an International School with more than 95% second language speakers, so I guess on decoding it will be effective.
  10. acertainsomething

    acertainsomething Occasional commenter

  11. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    It depends on their current reading level...

    Have you seen the resources?

    You don't give an idea of the context or setting RWI will be used in. I gave a lot of details about the school this was effective in. What is your school like?

    We had y6 entrants who were refugees, some came from war zones and could not read or write. They made incredible progress from nothing to level 2 or 3, it was at a time when value added was respected.
  12. acertainsomething

    acertainsomething Occasional commenter

    The resources have been improved and there is now a pre reading week for every unit before they start writing (not sure if this is new)) The planning in the teacher handbook is very detailed and the writing is broken down into miniscule parts which works well for second language children. However the idea of staying on a small example of text for 3-6 weeks does not fill me wiith excitement.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sounds perfect!
    LOL I did say it is dull as ditchwater to teach.
    BUT the children really love it and it sounds like it will be great for your school.

    Just reading for a whole week, before even starting to write is excellent...

    You'll appreciate the extra time you have due to not having to write lesson plans!
    slingshotsally likes this.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    This is more a scheme that links all the individual things a school will have anyway.

    Schools have phonic flashcards and poster
    Schools have reading schemes
    Schools have texts to inspire writing
    It makes a lot of sense to have all three link together.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  15. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    This works extremely well with EAL children.

    It requires enthusiasm in delivery and ultimately it's the consistency, structure, repetition, modelling, scaffolding, imitating and grammatical forms which are embedded within the method which do support EAL learners.
  16. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    I think I would love to work for an international school which is investing in the educational initiatives of this type. At least the fees are being spent on bettering the children's education!

    It sounds a great place to be.
  17. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    My last job was in a Junior school. They implemented an equally expensive programme, similar to Read, Write, Inc called Success for All (SfA.)

    The four year groups were allocated groups depending on their reading level, the children were in groups of four at a table, they devised table names, had group of the week and lots of motivational stuff. It's very prescriptive and the teacher must follow the script. I could see how well it worked for many of the children.

    But- of course, working with SEN, I got the lowest groups. Fine, no problem, used to that, but because of the groupings, there were Year 6 children in with Year 3. They'd already had phonics for seven years, intervention after intervention and they were completely demotivated by being put with children three years younger. For most of them, no chance of moving out of that group either.

    It had to be done at the same time each day. Let's just say it was a challenge.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Ah, well. In the context of YOUR school @acertainsomething it will probably work well.

    As a jumping-off point. But (like anything else) I wouldn't follow it slavishly. I imagine your pupils to be motivated and be literate in their first language so I would expect fast progress.

    No reason why you can't read REAL books too. Such children will speedily appreciate that English is full of irregularities and (at that age) able to assimilate the 'oddities' as well as the regular words.

    Doubtless Miskin advises you not to 'confuse' pupils but I disagree.

    In your situation I would certainly be enriching their experience by introducing other texts. The more the merrier. A diet of 'cat sat on a mat' must quickly pall and, if you're bored, the kids will tune out too.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  19. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    The trouble is @grumpydogwoman they do expect you to follow it slavishly. Having forked out a large sum of money, I guess heads want to get their money's worth and there's always the 'naughty, naughty' from the experts when they come to check you're doing it properly and find you've deviated from the script.

    The phonics was of course, the problem for he Year 6's who had mastered it years ago. I had to take out the older kids in the end and devise something completely different. Mutiny was a distinct possibility.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Absolutely not! The expectation is that a great many books will be enjoyed. A bit like you would never only give children ORT books to read, even if that is the school reading scheme. This is just a scheme to use in literacy lessons...not the whole diet of English teaching.

    Like I said, the children really love RWI, it is only teachers who think it seems less than exciting. The resources for the older children are not phonics in the same was a in year 1. The children, obviously, do not 'do phonics' for 7 years! The scheme moves on at a rapid pace and there is plenty of scope for all abilities and ages.

    I'm not really a fan of schemes for anything. But for a school who does like schemes, then RWI is a very good one. Children like it and it is definitely effective. It is hard for the first couple of years, when KS2 are used to something else and have a sudden change. But give it a few years and children come through having mastered the early stuff and are ready to fly with the later bits.
    slingshotsally likes this.

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