Edinburgh high school pupils get crash course in reading after fears over low reading ages

The Edinburgh Evening News is reporting that hundreds of pupils across the city are on a crash course in the basics of literacy after it emerged some youngsters arrive at high school with a reading age as low as seven…

Around 300 pupils are taking part in the city’s Fast Track reading and writing scheme – with teachers drilling struggling students through key fundamentals such as word sounds and letters.

Early results indicate the new programme – developed by US publisher Science Research Associates – has sparked surging attainment, as the average pupil enjoys a 19-month advance in ­reading age after eight months of teaching.

Education chiefs are so impressed they have extended the programme to all of the city’s secondary schools.

Vincent Spicer, support for learning leader at Drummond Community High, where Fast Track is helping 37 S1-4 pupils this session, said: “It’s very prescriptive – it gets students to go back to those basic letter sounds and small words and build up from there.

“In terms of a cultural shift, there’s a huge emphasis in the new curriculum on students becoming more responsible for their learning.

“What you wouldn’t expect to see in a class now is a teacher standing up and ­taking a class for the whole period – that’s what happens with Fast Track.”

Business leaders welcomed the adoption of a more rigorous approach to ensuring all of Edinburgh’s high school pupils have a grounding in literacy. But they said it was “concerning” so many leave primary school without the basics…

More at: High school pupils get crash course in reading

Any readers involved in this scheme? If so, please give us your thoughts and feedback. With increasing comments from employers about a lack of basic skills in school leavers, is this kind of approach something more areas should consider? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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