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Theale Green named Star School for literacy

Theale Green School has been commended for its approach to boosting literacy.

The school has been chosen as a Star School by Lexia, a software company aiming to boost literacy progress in secondary pupils.

Higher Level Learning Mentor, Rebecca Wilson, and Dr Fiona Hockedy
Higher Level Learning Mentor, Rebecca Wilson, and Dr Fiona Hockedy

The computer-based program PowerUp adapts instruction to the needs of the individual pupil, focusing on developing reading skills in three areas – word study, grammar and comprehension.

Each week, students get a weekly goal of 75 to 135 minutes, less over time as they progress.

Rebecca Wilson, a higher-level learning mentor at the school, is responsible for running Lexia sessions.

She said: “With the ‘Covid hangover’ we are experiencing, the number of students needing support with literacy has increased, with more students starting secondary school needing support with their phonics.

“The Lexia program can support our lowest ability students as well as our higher ability students, who perhaps needed a boost to their self-esteem and confidence.

“It can also support pupils who have difficulties engaging with their work, as opposed to those that have a big gap in knowledge, so it is something that works at both ends of the scale.

“I think the main reason for our success with Lexia is because we have had support from the whole staff at all levels.

“I also think it’s been a success because we have worked hard to integrate it into school life.

“Teachers now know that if they have a student in their class who is struggling due to literacy skills, that we have something in place to support them.”

Assistant head special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) Claire Lloyd added: “We are seeing improvements not just in literacy but with higher self-esteem of students.

“They go into lessons feeling more positive, no longer seeing unfamiliar text as a barrier to their learning.”

Pupils also shared their thoughts.

“I like Lexia because I get to do something I actually enjoy,” said one Year 7 pupil.

“I can understand it. When I concentrate, it’s easy and fun,” added a Year 8 pupil.

Visit https://shorturl.at/g8Vfn to read the full interview with Lexia.

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