Agility With Sound - Reading and illustrating

Agility With Sound gave us a key to unlock reading for those children who previously had been stuck.

It makes sense and we are seeing progress being made by children who had worked at reading but in spite of all the effort were still struggling. Now they are working hard AND making progress!

Judy Sachdeva, SENCO, Prebbleton School

Our initial trial was with a very small group of year 5 students who were identified as our most challenged readers. This initial group simply took off with significant rate of progress change over a very short period of time.

The results after two terms:
Child A: Level 15 –> Level 22
Child B: Level 18 –> Level 22
Child C: Level 13 –> Level 16

We extended the programme to a number of students in the year 3 and 4 range, with the following results after less than two terms:
Child A: Level 18 –> Level 22
Child B: Level 14 –> Level 17
Child C: Level 17 –> Level 19
Child D: Level 12 –> Level 14
Child E: Level 6 –> Level 9
Child F: Level 14 –> Level 20

We look forward to continuing with Agility With Sound in 2014 and extending this to our younger children to close the gap quicker.

James Griggs, Principal, Rowley Ave School

Our group consisted of four Year 9 students and one Year 10. The students were withdrawn from class for two one-hour sessions a week. Some of the students were additionally supported at home, others were not. The trial began in May and ran for the rest of the year.

e-asTTle reading results:
4P to 4A
2B to 3P
3P to 5P
Two went from 3P to 4P

All the group up on BURT too – by at least a year!

After seeing the response of the students to this programme, we will definitely continue using it next year. After years of other interventions, these are students who have genuinely begun to read this year.

To find a programme which can help these students has been the most exciting part of our involvement with Betsy’s programme, as at this age we usually have to begin to work around their reading disability, rather than address it.

Philippa Rendall, Learning Support, Riccarton High School

Elmwood Normal School began the programme with 18 year 4-6 students from the start of 2013. Betsy provided professional development for our learning support teacher and two teacher aides. She also demonstrated the programme with students and talked to invited parents about the programme and how they could support their child at home. During the year, Betsy continued to provide on-going support to our staff.

Sixteen students increased their performance on the BURT word reading test by more than six months (for those in the programme for two terms) or more than twelve months (for those in the programme for four terms). Each of these students made positive growth of between three and eighteen months (on top of the six or twelve months the children aged in the course of their tuition). The two students who failed to make accelerated progress did not have strong parental support at home, rarely completing their homework.

The students’ classroom teachers noted a more positive attitude towards reading by these students and heightened skill level. The children were able to read more fluently and make stronger contributions to group discussions. We will continue to work with the AWS programme in 2014.

Richard Oswin, Deputy Principal, Elmwood Normal School

Agility With Sound is very easy to manage because the planning is already done: it’s hands-on and in levels.

Our children have progressed significantly in reading levels, and their writing as well. It has had a huge effect on the children’s fluency.

The children are more engaged and enjoy reading. They have become confident and their learning attitude is positive.

Taloa Sagapolutele, Year 5 and 6 teacher, Rowley Ave. School

The Agility With Sound programme is easy to follow and implement within the daily literacy session. The resources are well organised and self-explanatory.

Students can begin their individual sessions independently and be monitored by their teacher/tutor when they are ready.

All the stories are well written, interesting and of a high interest to the students, even though they are not illustrated. The students love being able to use their decoding skills to help them comprehend them and draw their own illustrations.

Sandi Harnett, Year 3 & 4 Team leader

We have trialled the programme this year with struggling readers at the Year 3/4 level and have been very impressed with the gains these children have made in reading.

Reading scores (running record) after one term were as follows:
Child A: Level 15 -> Level 17
Child B: Level 16 -> Level 21
Child C: Level 14 -> Level 16
Child D: Level 17 -> Level 21
Child E: Level 18 -> Level 21

This is a group of children who have had numerous previous interventions and still continued to struggle. Class teachers have commented on improved word attack skills and greater confidence after using Agility With Sound.

Cathie Zelas, Associate Principal, Halswell School

One of our boys came to show me a word he had spelled using the Agility With Sound tiles. It was 12 letters long and very impressive. He looked like he’d won lotto. I don’t think he stopped smiling all day!

Some of our children have really struggled with spelling. Being able to make ‘monster’ with the tiles and then change it to ‘mobster’ and ‘lobster’ is very impressive when you think you can’t spell!

Agility With Sound has changed our kids’ attitude to spelling. Now they will work with the tiles, knowing they can spell “big” words and they can work out how to spell more and more, not by learning a list of words but by figuring out how the sounds work.

Judy Sachdeva, SENCO, Prebbleton School

I am fourteen and extremely dyslexic.

This project has given me the ability to contribute in class and is the only project that has worked for me.

Year 9 student, Riccarton High

My Year 9 class enjoy these stories. They find the content interesting, and are eager to read on to find out what happens.

These students need material that is easy to decode, to focus on comprehension. There is something to discuss in each paragraph, and plenty the teacher can work on.

Margaret Spowart, English teacher, Riccarton High School

When I read, I didn’t actually look at the words. They didn’t get into my head. I just read them.

Reading lots of the stories helped me to read better. All the words (on the onset-rime sheets) helped my reading speed. Now I try to understand what the words mean as well as just read them.

Year 9 student, Riccarton High