A READING scheme developed in the North East has taken off across the UK as schools strive to meet new Government literacy directives.
Specialist teacher Katy Parkinson capitalised on her experience to devise the new teaching scheme which she says can improve reading levels by 24 months in just a few weeks.
Now her company, Sound Training for Reading, based at Middlesbrough’s DigitalCity Business centre, is going from strength to strength with scores of new schools signing up every month and more trained supply teachers around the country being recruited to deliver the teaching.
Parkinson said: “We are growing rapidly and in part that’s due to a big change in educational policy. It’s now an Ofsted requirement to teach literacy across the whole curriculum.
“As a result some schools fear falling behind and that’s something we can help them to address. We’re covering the whole country from Durham to London and even the Isle of Wight.
“We have gone from a small business with a couple of people to a big UK-wide business in a short space of time and with more than 60 new schools coming on board in September it’s going to be manic! And that’s great.
“The reading scheme isn’t just about decoding, it is about allowing children to understand vocabulary better, they learn how to work things out such as prefixes, etc. So it helps across a range of subjects, not just English.
“Literacy has become a burning issue for the Government and the problem for some teachers is that they have focused on their own subjects for many years and have lost some of their confidence and skills in other areas.”
The company has set up a website which helps teachers revise and learn more about teaching literacy to which schools can subscribe.
The innovative system was originally developed for secondary school pupils who were reading below national standards but Katy soon found her programme could help primary school children as well.
She added: “More than 30% of 14-year-olds are failing to achieve expected levels in reading nationally. Sound Training for Reading is fast, focused and fun, that’s why it works.”
The DigitalCity Business group has provided her with the support, advice and the confidence to take the programme forward, develop a business and provide pupils outside of Middlesbrough with the same opportunity to access it.