An evaluation of a paired reading scheme in terms of its effectiveness in developing reading ability in year 7 pupils.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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The purpose of this research was to determine the effectiveness of a Paired Reading Scheme as a strategy to develop the reading ability of year 7 pupils. Particular attention was paid to the extent that reading age deficits had been reduced and the reaction of sixth form students, trained in the Better Reading Partnership Scheme, to the effectiveness of the scheme. The study included a comparison between data obtained from diagnostic reading tests and the views of sixth form students trained in the Better reading Partnership Scheme. The views of a proportionate sample of sixth form students was researched in greater depth to give an element of triangulation. The data was collected by the means of a diagnostic reading test, administered at the start and end of the scheme, to year 7 pupils and by means of a personally delivered questionnaire. The further views of a smaller subgroup of sixth form students were gained using structured interviews. All respondents were given the opportunity to make additional comments pertinent to the focus of the study. The results of the diagnostic reading tests were analysed and cross-referenced to the questionnaire and interview evidence. Reference was also made to the literature available on the subject. The results of the research showed that the reading age deficits of year 7 pupils receiving reading support had been reduced. It was indicated that the majority of sixth form students felt that the Paired Reading Scheme was a good idea and should be extended throughout the school. The main conclusions of the study were that the Special Needs Department would be better suited to provide the individual support that year 7 pupils with reading ages below the age of 8 years need. For pupils with reading ages of between 8 and 10 years the paired reading scheme was particularly successful in reducing their reading age deficits. Aspects of the training of year 12 students need more emphasis, the organisation and structure of the paired reading scheme needs to be reviewed, reading material needs to be classified and the importance of the support of teaching staff needs to be reiterated.
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