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The Reading Doctor

A bespoke Reading Intervention Programme, delivered to our struggling readers, by a trained Primary School Teacher and Reading Recovery Teacher


Many pupils arrive at St.Anthony's with reading skills that are significantly below age-related. This is could be due to lack of engagement in their previous school/specific learning difficulties. Often our pupils have received years of direct phonics teaching yet are still unable to access the first level reading books on arrival. We often inherit pupils who are at the very early stages of reading instruction and who inevitably have a very negative view towards reading. We have recognised that we need to offer these learners something different in order to engage them in the activity of reading and enable them to progress.

Reading and disadvantage

'By the final year of compulsory schooling, the reading skills of English pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are on average two and a half years behind those from affluent home.'

-The socio-economic gradient in teenagers' literacy skills (Jerrim-2012)

Educational impacts on reading

'Reading for pleasure is more important for pupils's cognitive development than their parents' level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.'

-Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading (Sullivan and Brown-2013)

Health and wellbeing impacts of reading

'Literacy has been found to have a relationship with depression:36% of those with low literacy were found to have depressive symptoms,'

-UK Survey of Adult Skills (OECD-2013)


We aim for all our pupils, regardless of their difficulties/barriers to learning, to achieve a reading age of at least 8.0 years, to enable them to function in society. We also expect many of our pupils to exceed this. We have a ‘no excuses’ attitude towards this goal. If a child at St. Anthony’s is not progressing in reading we will always seek to find ways to engage and motivate.

Assessment is an imperative part of reading instruction at St. Anthony's, as it determines whether or not the goals of education are being met. Assessment affects decisions about planning, intervention, resourcing and tracking progress. Assessment inspires us to ask the hard questions: "Are we teaching what we think we are teaching?" "Are pupils learning what they are supposed to be learning?" "Is there a way to teach the Reading more effectively/differently, thereby promoting better learning?"

On entry all pupils are assessed using the PM Benchmark Kit. This is designed to explicitly assess students’ instructional and independent reading levels, using accurately levelled fiction and non-fiction texts. The Running Record gives an invaluable insight into existing skills, knowledge, strategies and comprehension. The PM Assessment tool also dovetails with book bands for guided/individual reading and is designed to provide reliable levelling information from emergent levels through to reading age 12. Through this in-depth assessment process we can also identify any potential, specific learning difficulties/speech and language difficulties.

Alongside the PM Benchmark assessment, pupils at or below Purple Level (Year 2 Standards) will undergo an in-depth assessment of their skills and knowledge in relation to 'Letters and Sounds' (phonics). Each pupil receiving intervention through The Reading Doctor has an individual record book to record their ongoing progress. If after exiting the intervention programme, there are still gaps in a child’s phonic knowledge, these gaps will be noted and form part of the child’s individual education plan. It is then the responsibility of the class teacher to ensure these gaps are plugged.