A new pilot project, delivered collaboratively by the Herts for Learning (HfL) English and Early Years team, has doubled the progress of struggling readers within a sound Early Years ethos.
The Early Reading project pilot, which started in the autumn term of 2017, involved 53 pupils from nine schools in Hertfordshire.
The aim of the pilot project was to improve outcomes in reading at the end of the Reception year, effectively closing gaps in children’s early reading skills and knowledge.
The autumn round of the project targeted a group of six Reception children, per school, who were working just below age-related expectations at the time. The groups included children who had not begun to independently apply early reading behaviours, and were at the early stages of acquiring phonic knowledge but not yet able to decode even early reading books. The practitioners were advised to include children from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups wherever possible.
The data from these nine schools (53 children) show:
- participating schools’ ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD) scores improving by on average 2.9 ppts compared to overall County change of +0.5. The year-on-year change for those who did not participate in the ERP pilot was negative (-0.2).
- 78% of participating schools saw an increase in ELG reading between 2017 and 2018
- participating schools’ ‘Early Learning Goal’ (ELG) data for reading improving by on average 4.6 ppts compared to overall County change of -1.0. The largest increase seen was +13.3 ppts, in a school with a high proportion of disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils.
- children making on average double the usual rate of progress in the areas of print concepts and alphabetic knowledge, both during and after the project
- children making on average double the usual rate of progress in text-reading
- children make on average more than expected progress in phonics for reading
Speaking about the data, Rose Blair, Early Years Adviser at HfL said:
“The impact of the project so far has seen the children demonstrating an improved self-image as readers as they have a better understanding of the concepts of print and alphabetic knowledge, an improved understanding of meta-language and 1:1 correspondence.
“The children have been observed during Child Initiated Learning to be choosing to read independently, talking more about their reading including independently offering their views on the books. The children are also noted to be demonstrating more signs of early fluency as they are more readily able to decode, having embedded the principles of print concept knowledge.”
Kirsten Snook, Primary English Adviser at HfL, added:
“The practitioners are now more effectively identifying a child’s early reading needs sooner and are adapting interventions according to the needs of the unique child more readily. The planning of independent guided reading activities is now more effective and purposeful and supporting adults are being deployed more efficiently, honing in on specific skill development as they work with the focus children and others.
“The practitioners are now reporting to be more confident when selecting books for the children, with their increased knowledge of matching books to the child’s next steps in learning.
To read the full impact report about the Reception Early Reading Project or to find out how your school can take part, please visit: Reception Early Reading Project or read the Early Reading Project: findings form the Pilot blog.