Teaching assistants have been integral in improving the reading age of primary school pupils in Oxford.
The Oxfordshire Reading Campaign was devised to address poor literacy levels in seven-year-olds at Key Stage 1 and in its first year has proved to be a big success, with some kids seeing their reading age improve by nearly two years, the Oxford Mail reports.
According to data analysed by Edge Hill University, the average increase for the county was 13.5 months, while there does not seem to be any major difference in progress being made by boys and girls.
Central to the project has been the role of those in teaching assistant jobs, as they have been at the forefront of delivering the reading intervention programme.
Specialist books produced by Oxford University Press have been distributed to the learning centres taking part - which currently total 54 - and £585,000 has been made available in funding.
As well as teaching children how to read properly, the project also hopes to foster a lifelong love for literature. Volunteers have also been drafted in to offer one-on-one tuition for any child found to be struggling.
Speaking about the scheme's results, county council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: "I find it incredible. I knew it would be good but I didn't expect that kind of impact.
"I expected it to take a couple of years before we would see anything at all, but within weeks we were getting testimonials saying how the children had improved."
Ms Tilley added she will be trying her utmost to encourage more schools to sign up to the programme - three more have already been confirmed for the start of the 2013-14 academic year.
Teaching Personnel is delighted to announce the 2nd National Teaching Assistants’ day taking place on 16th September. Please click on the following link for more information.National Teaching Assistants' Day
Posted by Alan Douglas