Year 7 Literacy Catch-Up

The Year 7 catch-up scenario in this case study is familiar to many secondary schools with learners who, as struggling readers, are often locked out of the curriculum.

Literacy Intervention for Below-average pupil’s in Year 7 

Although he was 13 years 6 months, Alfie had a reading age of just 8 years 1 month. And it was no wonder ⏤ he had been diagnosed as having a severe learning disability and was also gaining a reputation for bad behaviour.

Alfie was put on the ReadingWise Zip module (usually for children in reception and Y1) where he worked for 20 hours, spread over six weeks. After the programme, he was reassessed. Alfie’s reading age was now 9 years 5 months - a jump of 14 months.

However, the deputy head told us that it was Alfie’s self-esteem that had received the biggest boost. “The most important thing for Alfie was that he now had the confidence that he COULD read and he COULD improve, and for the first time ever, he wanted to keep improving his literacy level. “

Rashid, the other struggling reader cited as a “tough case”, had a chronological age of 12 years 11 months, yet his reading age was found to be 8 years 1month. He was diagnosed as having mild to moderate dyslexia. The deputy head told us that, during lessons, Rashid would try to hide in a corner so no one could see how little progress he made.

After 20 hours of the programme, again done over about six weeks, Rashid was reassessed. His reading age was now 11 years 2 months, a jump of 37 months. As the deputy head told us, “Rashid surprised himself at the words he could now read at the end of the course. So much so, that he asked if he could repeat the ReadingWise Zip module and Vocab to see if he could get more out of it. Now he knew it made a difference, he was more willing to put in the effort.”

Why literacy interventions are crucial for struggling students?

In schools (primary and secondary), we know that at least 20% of children fail to achieve adequate literacy levels before leaving school. The effects of this go far beyond not wanting or being able to enjoy a good book. 

When it comes to reading enjoyment: “Just 2 in 5 (43.4%) children and young people aged 8 to 18 said they enjoyed reading in their free time in 2023. This is the lowest level since we first asked the question in 2005.”

According to the World Literacy Foundation, a 2018 study found that “illiteracy is estimated to cost the UK economy approximately £80 billion [per year].”

Another National Literacy Trust report states that: “1 in 6 (16.4%) adults in England are estimated to have very low literacy, which means they may struggle with longer texts and unfamiliar topics (OECD, 2016).” 

Adults who struggle to read and write at a very basic level are described as functionally illiterate, and this impacts everything they do in life, including finding and staying in employment.

Work with ReadingWise to improve literacy results in your school 

Take a look at our other case studies and testimonials from teachers, TAs, headteachers, and literacy leads at primary and secondary schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs).

ReadingWise offers four core modules, plus a comprehensive Learners Library, Teacher Training, and a Dashboard that you can integrate with other school software, and use to demonstrate attainment against the Pupil Premium Budget. Here is our pricing for more information

Zip : Phonics for primary schools, reception, and Y1. 

Vocab : A special vocabulary programme for learners aged 6 - 16, for primaries and secondaries.

Decoding : A comprehensive module for learners with a reading age below their chronological age irrespective of key stage. 

Comprehension : A powerful, engaging, and fun literacy intervention module to develop the quest for meaning behind a narrative. Its content, structure, and design deliver age-appropriate sessions for Primary and Secondary schools Years 5-9.

Over 100,000 pupils in UK schools have completed a ReadingWise programme! We hope to help you and your children, too.

“ReadingWise is really good value for money. We have seen it as being a highly effective intervention that offers personalised learning to large numbers of children and has a measurable impact in a short amount of time.” Jenny Taylor, Headteacher, Horfield Primary School, Bristol - 85% pass in 2016 reading SATs

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