A Research and Evidence-Based Programme: Accessing our Materials and Methods

Our programme is both research and evidence-based.

Recent evidence from children who have worked with the programme is provided in two chapters, together with reviews of the research on which the programme materials are based. The links to these are as follows:

The chapter “Developing Automaticity in Children with Learning Disabilities: A Functional Perspective Part One: Theory and Assessment” can be accessed by clicking on: http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/developing-automaticity-in-children-with-learning-disabilities-a-functional-perspective-part-one-the

The chapter “Developing Automaticity in Children with Learning Disabilities: A Functional Perspective Part Two: Programme Methods and Materials” can be accessed by clicking on:  http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/developing-automaticity-in-children-with-learning-disabilities-a-functional-perspective-part-two-pro

Based on the results, we are offering an internet-based training course for users of our fluency-based programme. This is low cost and based on distance teaching methodologies, so it can be provided internationally.

This is described in a separate post.

 

An Internet-based Training Programme on our Methods and Materials

This post provides information about the internet-based training course for our fluency-based programme. This is low cost and based on distance teaching methodologies, so it can be provided to programme users internationally.

1. The course is modular and each module has a theoretical and a practical side.

2. The course is presented step by step in seven modules. As each module is completed, it will be certificated.

3. The theoretical side of each module is focused on content contained in three chapters on the programme, as well as a tutorial letter and a manual.

4. All of the chapters have been published internationally and are downloadable free of charge. You can get the links for these by emailing me at pottercs@gmail.com

5. After registering for the course, the tutorial letters, programme materials and accompanying are sent to you by email. This is done module by module.

6. The practical side of each module is case study based, and focused on work with two children. The first is a child at foundational reading level, and the second is a child at either basic or intermediate reading level. You will need to identify both of the children you are going to work with.

7. Each module in the course follows consecutively, and builds on skills learned in the previous module. This means that both the theoretical and the practical sides of the course are completed in tandem, and step by step. Each module is assessed through an assignment, involving completion of a short multiple choice questionnaire and then work on practical application.

8. Each of the modules is based on a tutorial letter, and supported by a manual. The tutorial letters are as follows:

a. Tutorial Letter One focuses on course orientation, as well as the programme’s materials. After completing your registration and receiving Tutorial Letter One, you will receive 27 reading fluency books drawn from my practice’s database, for use in your work with parents and children. In addition, you will receive six activity books, for work at foundational level in the programme.

b. Tutorial Letter Two focuses on work at the foundational level in the programme, which is the first course module and the first course assignment. This module is supported by a foundation level manual, a parent questionnaire, a checklist for assessing school and programme readiness, and a checklist for use in readability assessment at the foundational level in the programme.

c. Tutorial Letter Three focuses on work with the four core tests used in the programme, which is the second course module and the second course assignment. This module is supported by a manual for the core tests as well as three checklists for rating different kinds of fluency-related difficulties.

d. Tutorial Letter Four focuses on work on reading fluency, which is the third course module and the third course assignment. This module is supported by a manual for the 3 x 3 Oral Impress Method, and a checklist for use in readability assessment at basic and intermediate levels in the programme.

e. Tutorial Letter Five focuses on assessment of phonic difficulties, which is the fourth course module and the fourth course assignment. This module is supported by a manual for the Phonic Inventories used for assessing needs for phonic instruction, as well as needs for work in the writing and spelling fluency area of the programme.

f. Tutorial Letter Six focuses on work with writing and spelling fluency, which is the fifth course module and the fifth course assignment. This module is supported by a manual on the Seven Vowel Phonic Analysis System, as well the materials you have already received in previous modules of the course.

g. Tutorial Letter Seven focuses on work with sequential spelling difficulties, which is the sixth course module and the sixth course assignment. This module is supported by a manual on the Targeted Analysis, Revisualisation and Sequential Spelling Programme, as well the materials you have already received in previous modules of the course.

h. Tutorial Letter Eight focuses on work with the programme as a whole, which is the seventh course module and the seventh course assignment. It focuses in particular on the language and reading comprehension area of the programme, and also contextualises how fluency-based work relates to work done in the programme as a whole. This module is assessed through a final course assignment involving a detailed case study, based on your use of the programme materials and methods in tandem with your own materials in clinical teaching with one child. The assignment also involves a questionnaire relating to the three chapters on the programme, as well as the model of the programme as a whole.

You will see from the above that the course is very practical, and in my view this is the best way to learn how to use the programme materials and methods, and to integrate these with what you already do.

You are probably looking at the structure of the course, and wondering how you can relate this to your own existing commitments and work. My suggestion is as follows:

The course is modular and involves seven assignments. These are introduced through course materials based on distance teaching methodologies.

Given this, the first thing to decide is if you want to embark on the journey. If you decide that you do, we can then negotiate your involvement in the course and your envisaged timeline. We can also negotiate your deadlines for each module and each assignment step by step and one at a time.

What this means is that the course has been planned so that it can be taught flexibly, and fit in with your other commitments. If you work through the modules step by step, you will emerge at the end competent to work with our materials. The time you take can vary.

Put another way, what I can do is to plan your course with you so that it runs consecutively, and step by step, and that your deadlines for each step are geared around your other commitments. This is possible from my side as I know the programme, and have also run similar internet-based training courses before.

So if you are interested In working with our methods and materials and would like training in how to do so, you are welcome to email me at

pottercs@gmail

We will first discuss the work you do and what you need. We can then work out a time framework and plan for your course that this suits your needs. Once there is a plan, I can send you your tutorial letters and supporting manuals and other course material step by step. And as you complete the practical assignments, so your expertise in using the materials will grow.

So email me or phone me on 0027 82 330 7589, and we can then go forward from there.

I look forward to working with you.

Assessment and Evaluation in the Programme

How is Evidence used in the Programme?

The programme is based on a number of types of evidence. It has been designed based on evidence from research, and it is modified and updated based on evidence from assessment and evaluation.

How are Assessment and Evaluation used in the Programme?

The way in which assessment is used in the programme follows the suggestions made in the Report of the National Reading Panel (2001), and in particular Chapter Three which focuses on the issue of fluency. Briefly, the National Reading Panel suggests that a number of informal procedures can be used in the classroom to assess fluency. These include informal reading inventories, miscue analysis, pausing indices, running records, and reading speed calculations. All these informal assessment procedures require oral reading of text.

In our programme, we use an evaluation questionnaire to provide a number of indicators of reading fluency. This is then followed by more formal testing.

How are our Evaluation Questionnaires Constructed?

Our evaluation questionnaires use a number of indicators of  reading fluency, and are designed to provide evidence of needs for our reading fluency programme, as well as evidence of progress and gains made by children. They focus on the following aspects of reading fluency:

  1. Word by word reading
  2. Inaccurate reading of words
  3. Incorrect reading of phrases
  4. Incorrect phrasing
  5. Slow rate of reading
  6. Hesitant reading
  7. Unconfident reading
  8. Poor reading fluency
  9. Poor reading comprehension owing to poor reading fluency.

We ask a number of initial questions, and this evidence is used to establish whether it is likely that a particular child has a fluency-related reading problem. If this is the case, more formal assessment using tests is conducted.

Once a child has worked been working on our programme for a few months, we then attempt to establish whether gains have been made. The aim is to establish whether there are observable differences in reading fluency. This is done through progress evaluation, using similar indicators.

What is the Aim of Assessment, and how does this link to Evaluation?

The aim of assessment is to get quantitative evidence concerning the child’s reading level relative to chronological age. This is then linked to qualitative evidence, based on observation of the way in which the child reads and spells. The level in the programme at which to start the child is based on a combination of observational, qualitative and quantitative evidence.

The quantitative evidence is based on tests of word reading, tests of sentence and paragraph reading, tests of one word spelling and tests of sequential writing and spelling. The qualitative evidence is based on fluency indicators and indices of comprehension, while the observational evidence is based on based on analysis of the child’s oral reading of text, using our evaluation questionnaires.

If you are a member of our network, copies of the evaluation questionnaires and a manual for our assessment procedures can be obtained from me free of charge, by emailing me at pottercs@gmail.com

How are Assessment and Evaluation Conducted?

The purpose of assessment and evaluation is to identify children who are non-fluent readers, and to attempt to establish if the reading fluency difficulty is an isolated one, or co-occurring with other reading, writing and spelling difficulties.

The reason for this is that the proportion of fluent versus non-fluent readers in any classroom varies. As the National Reading Panel (2001) suggests, some non-fluent readers have established adequate reading skills but have not established fluency in reading as they do not enjoy the experience of reading. Others may be non-fluent readers as they have not had sufficient experience of reading. Others may not have sufficient reading material available to learn to read.

Still others may have difficulties with reading and require use of reading materials which are written in a way conducive to establishing reading fluency. Others may have more deep-seated difficulties with reading requiring specialised treatment.

The purpose of initial assessment and evaluation is to try and find the reasons for a child’s lack of fluency with reading, as well as make suggestions for methods which can be used to change this pattern of behaviour. The purpose of progress evaluation is to determine the child’s response to the programme material as well as the methods used in working with him or her, as a way of determining whether or not the programme is effective.

What does this Mean on a Practical Level?

There is a practical reason for working in this developmental way, and the reason is diagnostic. Previous research indicates that in every group or classroom of children, there is likely to be about 25% of the group who are non-fluent readers (defined as children whose lack of accuracy and speed of reading interferes with the ability to complete classroom reading tasks quickly and accurately, and whose accuracy and speed of reading are below chronological age). Among the non-fluent readers, there will be a subgroup of children who have learning difficulties affecting reading, writing and spelling.

In our programme, evidence from assessment and evaluation are thus used diagnostically to establish whether the child only has a reading fluency problem, or has a broader-based learning problem. This is done over time, through action research involving test teaching.

What is Test Teaching?

Test teaching, as used in our programme, involves the use of action research in teaching. Specifically, this means the use of our programme materials diagnostically in an action research cycle, involving:

Planning

Implementation

Observation and

Evaluation.

What this means is that parents, teachers and therapists are asked to use observation when using our materials to establish whether or not improvements in fluency are taking place. Reading fluency has a number of different dimensions, and for this reason evaluation questionnaires are used to record observations of different aspects of reading behaviour. These indicators can then be linked to evidence from more formal assessment using tests, as a basis for establishing whether the programme is effective.

Why is Test Teaching Important?

Test teaching is important as not all programmes work equally well with all children. A programme may need to be changed, or implemented more or less frequently, or additional interventions undertaken.

Additional interventions may be needed with many children for the reason that previous research indicates that about 15% of all children have learning difficulties, and that about 9% will have difficulties which are intractable, requiring individual focus and specialised treatment. What this means on a practical level is that every classroom is likely to have a number of children with reading fluency difficulties, as well as a subgroup having additional learning difficulties.

Test teaching thus involves a process of diagnostic intervention, with the aim of establishing whether or not a particular child ’s difficulties respond to treatment, or whether more in-depth work is necessary. This is done through a cycle of action research, in which assessment and evaluation are central.

How are Assessment and Evaluation linked to Test Teaching?

In using our materials, there are two stages. The first stage of establish whether or not a child has a fluency difficulty. The next stage is then to establish whether the difficulty is an isolated one or is part of a more general pattern of learning difficulty.

Identification of needs for more specialised treatment is thus done through the evaluative process involved in test teaching using our programme materials. Work on the child’s reading is used to establish whether or not the child’s fluency improves, or whether the child needs more specialised treatment. Where rapid improvement does not take place, this is followed by referral for more in-depth assessment.

In Summary

Our materials are designed to be used developmentally with children with reading, writing and spelling difficulties. They are used through a diagnostic process of test teaching involving:

Initial assessment and planning

Intervention focused on developing fluency

Observation based on test teaching

Evaluation of response to the intervention

Replanning, broadening the intervention, or referral for more in-depth assessment and treatment.

It will be evident from the above that the programme is evidence-based. Both assessment and evaluation are integral to test teaching, as part of a process of action research focused on establishing whether the programme is effective.

Membership of our Network

There are a number of teachers, therapists and schools already using our materials, as well as our assessment and evaluation procedures. These are focused on the use of the  eighty phonically based, large print books currently in our data base.

In addition, there are manuals for teachers and therapists, indicating in detail how these materials can be used for developing reading fluency, and also for developing writing and spelling fluency. These are made available free of charge to teachers and therapists in our network.

As our aim is to make our materials available at low cost to users, membership of our network is open to parents, teachers, therapists and schools interested in using the materials in our data base. There are minimal formalities involved, and membership can be arranged by emailing me at pottercs@gmail.com

 

What can the Programme do for You?

How is the programme designed?

The aims of the programme are to develop a resource of low cost material which can be used by parents, teachers and therapists to teach children to read, write and spell. This is done through the use of electronic material, all of which can be sent out by email. This makes it possible to deliver the material anywhere in the world quickly, and at low cost.

The programme focuses on developing basic skills and automaticity in reading, writing and spelling. It is designed around use of phonically based, large print readers, the content of which can be used to teach children to read, write and spell. There is a core series of twenty graded readers. There are also branching series of readers at different reading levels, which can be used for children with reading difficulties.

In addition, there is a foundational level consisting of basic readers with accompanying activity books. The activities are based on use of simple, low-cost equipment for introducing the sound/letter relationships with children, and also the use of a word and sentence maker with key words drawn from the foundation readers.

What methodologies are used in working with the programme materials?

The methodologies which have been found to be effective in using the programme materials are described in a series of manuals. These are made available free of charge to you once you are a member of the programme.

The manual for use in developing reading fluency is provided to you first, after you join the programme. Once you have worked with at least five children on reading fluency, additional methods for using the materials for developing writing and spelling can also be made available to you. As with the methods for developing reading fluency, these manuals are made available free of charge.

The requirements for making these additional manuals available are that you have used the reading fluency materials successfully with at least five children, that you have found the materials useful, and that you have both pre and post-test scores on the children with whom you have worked, as well as additional evidence which indicates that the children’s parents have found the materials effective.

Models for working with the programme materials

There are a number of different ways in which parents, therapists and teachers have worked with the materials to date. In addition,  both school principals and programme administrators are currently using the materials in reading centres and reading programmes.

There is a model for working with the materials if you are parent working with your own child. There are also a number of ways in which the materials can be used if you are a teacher or therapist. There are additional models of programme usage which can be used by school principals or programme administrators who wish to improve reading, writing and spelling abilities in children, and are looking for low cost and effective ways in which this can be done.

These different models for working with the programme materials are outlined in the rest of this post. Each of these approaches is evidence-based.

What evidence is used to determine the level at which to start a particular child? 

If you look on the home page of this website, you will see that there is a core series of twenty ebooks. These materials are graded in terms of difficulty, and can be used for developing reading fluency. They also have other uses in working with writing and spelling.

The level at which to start each child is determined through pretesting on a battery of reading, writing and spelling tests, which yield scores as well as reading fluency indicators. These are then used to determine the starting level in the programme. An initial book drawn from the first ten of the ebooks in the core series listed on the website is normally chosen to start working with a child at primary school level. An initial book drawn from books eleven to twenty is normally used to start working with a child at high school level.

Subsequent decisions on additional ebooks are then taken on the  basis of evidence from progress evaluation. Both assessment and evaluation are used to establish whether the child has improved, and also whether the child can benefit from further work with the programme materials, or additional uses of the material to develop skills in writing and spelling.

What is the model for using the programme if you are a parent working with your own child? 

To access and use the programme materials, a parent will need to be working with at least one of their own children. The child will need to have been assessed, and the parent will need to make contact with me based on either a teacher or a therapist’s recommendation. This is normally done by email, supported if necessary by cellphone contact.

Based on the child’s reading, writing and spelling test scores, as well as additional evaluative evidence that the child has reading fluency difficulties, the child’s parents are provided with one ebook free of charge. A copy of the book is also sent to a therapist or teacher working with the child if the parent requests this.

If there are observable differences in reading behaviour through use of the materials and the accompanying methodology, the child is then invited to join the programme. At this point, the parent pays a membership fee to join the programme for a year.

During the year of membership the parent is provided with as many ebooks as are needed to work with the child. Copies of these are also sent to the therapist or teacher who is working with the child if the parent requests this. These additional copies are provided free of any additional charge.

At the end of the year, progress is assessed through post-testing, as well as through evaluation questionnaires. If necessary the child’s membership of the programme is extended for another year.

How can the programme be used if you are a therapist or a teacher working with a single child? 

To access and use the materials as a teacher or therapist, you will need to be a franchised member of the programme. This means that a teacher or therapist will need to have a franchise to use the programme materials, and also be working with at least one child. The child will need to have been assessed, and the parent will need to make contact with us on your recommendation. This is normally done by email, supported if necessary by cellphone contact.

As the aim of the programme is to provide materials at low cost, the teacher or therapist’s franchise will then be provided at low cost. The cost is in the region of ten pounds or ten euros or ten US dollars for a year’s license to use the materials. If the franchise is then extended at the end of the year, this is done at the same cost (ie once a franchised member of the programme, your annual costs do not escalate).

If the teacher or therapist is initially working with only one child, the decision as to which level of the programme to place the child will be taken based on the child’s reading, writing and spelling levels, as well as additional evidence indicating that the child has reading fluency difficulties. The child’s parents are then provided with one ebook free of charge. A copy of the book is also sent to you as the child’s therapist or teacher.

If there are observable differences in reading behaviour through use of the materials and the accompanying methodology, the child is then invited to join the programme. At this point, the parents pay a membership fee and join the programme for a year.

During the year of membership the parent is provided with as many ebooks as are needed to work with the child. Copies of these are sent to you as the child’s therapist or teacher. These are provided free of any additional charge. At the end of the year, the teacher or therapist is asked assess the child’s progress, and to assist in evaluating what the child still needs. If necessary the child’s membership of the programme is then extended for another year.

In summary, to work with our materials as a teacher or therapist, you will need to be a franchised member of our programme. The franchise is provided at low cost. This is done to enable you to use our materials, and gain experience in how they work. If you then decide that you wish to continue using our materials in your work, there is no escalation in the cost of your annual franchise, whether you work with small numbers of children, or much larger numbers of children.

How can the programme be used if you are a therapist or a teacher working with more than one child? 

If you are a teacher or therapist working with more than one child who has reading fluency difficulties, it is likely that you will be wanting to implement the programme as part of a practice working with a number of children, or as part of a school programme in which children have been assessed either by a psychologist or by yourself.

To use our programme materials for this purpose, you will need to be a franchised member of the programme. As the aim of the programme is to provide materials at low cost, your teacher or therapist’s franchise is provided at low cost. This is in the region of ten pounds or ten euros or ten US dollars for a year’s license to use the materials. If the franchise is then extended at the end of the year, this is done at the same cost (ie once a franchised member of the programme, your costs do not escalate), whether you work with a small number of children, or a much larger number.

Each of the parents of children with whom you are working will need to make contact with us on your recommendation. This is normally done by email, supported by cellphone contact.

After receiving the initial assessment data, each child with whom you are working will get one ebook free, and will then be invited to join the programme if there is evidence that the materials are effective. You will also receive the materials sent to the child.

In summary, we will send each parent with whom you are working materials, once we receive the initial assessment results for the child. We will then send each parent additional ebooks on demand, with a copy to yourself.

This model works well if you a therapist or teacher who works in a practice or in a school, where you are expecting to work with at least five children over a year. Other therapists and teachers report that they are able to get the parents of the children involved in supporting their work by doing additional work at home. Using the programme materials in this way normally leads to improvements in reading fluency, with backwash effects into other reading, writing and spelling skills.

There are also other models which can be used if you are working with a number of children (e.g. in a therapy centre or in a school environment). A suitable model can be worked out with you, once we know your needs and the particular circumstances in which you work.

How can the programme be used if you want to start a reading centre or reading programme? 

There are currently eighty ebooks, activity books and manuals in our data base. This body of material can be used as a low cost materials base if you would like to start a reading centre or a reading programme in which you work with other therapists, or teachers, or tutors, or volunteers.

In use the materials to start a reading centre or a reading programme, you will need to be a franchised member of our programme. You will also need to have experience in working with our materials yourself, or to have at least one teacher or therapist working with you who has had experience in working with our materials. This experience can then be used to train other teachers or therapists, or tutors or volunteers in how to use the materials effectively, as well as to supervise their work to ensure that the materials are used effectively.

There are already a number of therapists and teachers who have started reading centres using our materials, as well as reading programmes in schools. There are also school principals, programme administrators and parents who have indicated that they wish to make a wider contribution in the area of reading, who are working to develop reading programmes both in schools and in the community.

Normally the development of a reading centre or programme involves the following steps:

  1. It is necessary to involve at least one an experienced teacher or therapist who believes, as we do, in the value of using graded phonically based material in working with children with reading difficulties, and who has also seen the value of repetition in developing greater fluency and automaticity in reading.
  2. This person might be yourself. Alternatively, if you are a school principal wishing to start a reading programme or a reading club in your school, or if you are a programme administrator or a person wishing to make a wider community contribution in reading, the person you identify might be a teacher who has reached retirement age but still wishes to make a contribution to children who need better reading skills.
  3. Alternatively, the teacher or therapist you identify might already be working with our materials as part of an existing school programme, or working with them in a part-time context in the area of reading fluency. The important issue is that it is previous experience in working with our materials in reading fluency which is likely to drive a new programme forward.
  4. The reading centre or programme does not need to have physical premises. However, there will need to be space available where work with children can be done.
  5. Once these steps have been taken and suitable space for working has been identified, the next step is to purchase from us a license to use a set of ten ebooks drawn from our core series. The license is provided at low cost and for a year. If things work well, the license can then be extended. If things do not work out, the license can be allowed to lapse with no costs or penalties to yourself, or any of the people working with you.
  6. Our experience has been that one set of ten ebooks is normally enough to get going. The costs of this are in the region of 130-00 British pounds or euros or US dollars for a year’s license to use the material. What this means is that this amount is the total financial  risk you will incur from our side.
  7. Once the license fee has been paid, the pdf’s of the ten books will be sent to you. These books can then be duplicated to serve the needs of the children you wish to serve. There are no additional charges from our side for doing so, and all manuals you will need to work with the materials are provided free of charge.
  8. There is thus only one cost involved, and no additional costs from our side. Should you wish to continue using our materials at the end of the year, the next year’s license will be provided at the same cost to yourself (ie there will be no escalation charges in your license to continue to use the set of books with which you have been supplied).
  9. As the aim of our programme is that our materials be used at low cost, should you wish to extend your programme by using an additional batch or additional batches of ten ebooks, your second or third or fourth license to use the additional batch or batches of ebooks will also be given to you at the same cost as your initial license.
  10. What this means is that a reading centre or programme can be developed virtually, at low cost, and without escalation in costs annually. Should the programme using the initial license be successful, the license can then be extended for an additional year at the same cost. The programme can also be extended by purchasing additional licenses to use additional batches of books.

In a nutshell, there are currently eighty phonically based, large print ebooks in our data base. All of the models outlined in this post have been developed so as to enable these materials to be used widely and at low cost. Whether you are a parent working with your own child, a teacher or therapist working with one child or with a number of children, or a school administrator or administrator of a charitable organisation or foundation wishing to make an impact on reading, writing and spelling difficulties, there should be a way of using our materials at low cost to do this. If there is not one listed in this post which is appropriate to what you want to do or the type of contribution you want to make, we will try and work something appropriate out with you.

The one element which is common across all the different models is that the programme is evidence-based. Our materials and methodologies have been workshopped with children who have reading and learning difficulties, and the evidence indicates that where the materials are used consistently and properly, they work well. There are publications which indicate this, and the evidence presented is consistent.

We are aware that home, school and programme contexts vary considerably. So if you wish to use our materials and you find that the models presented in this post do not coincide with the particular uses you have in mind, you are welcome to contact me by email at pottercs@gmail.com so we can take your ideas forward.

As evaluation is ongoing, my next post will be on the use of evidence in the programme. This will focus on how assessment and evaluation are used to establish whether programme usage is effective.

How does Membership of Dr Charles Potter’s Reading Fluency Programme Work?

One can join as a parent or a teacher or a therapist

There is a network of people using the materials. Some are parents, some are teachers and some are therapists. Parents normally have a child with a learning or reading difficulty, who have found out about the programme through the internet, or through a person who has used the programme materials, or through a person who works with children, or through a person who does assessments. Many of the people using the materials are based in South Africa. Some are from other countries. This is possible as the materials are electronic, and are sent out by email.

How are assessment and evaluation built into the process of using the ebooks?

The programme is assessment and evidence-based. The initial ebook in the series is chosen based on the child’s one word reading, sentence reading, one word spelling and sequential spelling test scores. The use of the book is then workshopped with the parent and the child, by a person who is familiar with the methodology and the content of the series. This process can be undertaken through the internet, but is usually best conducted by someone with whom one can interact face to face.

Parents report that the methods used to work with their children are easy to learn. The evaluation procedures are also easy to use, as they are designed to record observable differences in the child’s reading fluency.

What materials are available?

The materials are phonically regular, large print reading fluency books which are made available electronically. Once the books are printed out and bound, they can then be used for developing reading fluency, as well as for teaching the child how to read and spell.

Detailed tutorial letters and manuals are made available free of charge to members of the programme. There are also activity books which accompany a number of the reading fluency books, at foundation levels in the programme. These have been designed for children who start in the programme as non-readers, and have been used successfully with children who have not learned to read using other methods.

The child is placed in the programme based on assessment. The child’s progress is then evaluated by the parent, as well as by others who are working with the child, or teaching the child. Based on the evaluation, successive ebooks are then chosen and sent to the parent by email. This is done with the aim of enabling parents, therapists and teachers to get materials at a level appropriate to improving the child’s reading ability.

What does this mean in practice?

What this means is practice is that children with reading difficulties can be identified early and then placed on low cost, phonically based, large print reading materials which are delivered by email. The initial ebook is provided free of charge to establish whether the programme works with the child. If there are observable differences in reading fluency, the parent and child are then invited to join the programme.

Therapists and teachers also join the programme. There is a charge for programme membership. This is low cost. There are no other charges or costs involved in belonging to the programme, as once the child’s parent is a member of the programme, all materials are provided by email to the child’s parent free of charge. If the child is also being worked with by a therapist or teacher, a copy of the reading material or activity book is sent to the child’s therapist or teacher free of charge.

Can schools also use the materials?

Both schools and reading centres are currently using the materials, and report that these are effective. For a school or reading centre to use the materials, at least one person who works in the school or reading centre needs to be a member of the programme. A low cost model for using the material is then worked out with the person working in the school or reading centre, depending on the needs of children, as evidenced by their one word reading, sentence reading, one word spelling and sequential spelling test scores.

How is access to the materials arranged?

This is done personally. Our aim as a programme is to get children right, at low cost to parents as well as low cost to others working with the children. The first step is to make contact with me by email at pottercs@gmail.com  The  second step is then to join the programme so you can try out the materials, and see if they work for you.

 

 

 

How does Dr Charles Potter’s Reading Fluency Programme Work?

 

What is Dr Charles Potter’s reading fluency programme?

Dr Charles Potter’s reading fluency programme is a resource of large-print phonically based ebooks which can be used for developing reading fluency. The materials can also be used to develop spelling and sequential writing and spelling skills.

As at the end of 2016 there were eighty books in the series. The books are graded in terms of difficulty from foundational through basic to more advanced levels. There are also activity books which accompany books at the foundational level.

What is the aim of the programme?

The aim of the programme is to promote access to materials and methodologies for developing reading fluency at low cost. This is done through a network of parents, therapists and teachers who have used the programme and found it to be effective.

What are the ebooks about?

The ebooks are a series of stories about animals. The story in each book has been developed for and then workshopped with children who have reading difficulties. Each word in each story can be phonically decoded, and the stories are written and formatted in a way which enables the book to be printed out and bound, and then read by parents, working in partnership with their children.

The books aim to develop reading skills and to entertain. Parents report observable changes in reading fluency, and at the same time indicate that their children enjoy the stories and find the characters funny. Many parents also report that they find the books amusing, despite the amount of repetition necessary to improve their children’s reading fluency.

.How are the ebooks used?

As the ebooks are designed to develop reading skills as well as entertain, they can be read for enjoyment. Their chief usage, however, has been in developing reading fluency.

The best results have been obtained where parents and their children have used the ebooks regularly in twenty minute reading sessions, and have used a repetitive paired reading method called the 3 x 3 oral impress method. A tutorial letter outlining this method is provided with the initial ebook free of charge. A workshop is normally also conducted with the parent by a skilled programme user, to ensure that the method is used correctly with the child.

Parents report that the 3 x 3 oral impress method is easy to learn and then implement. Parents also report that workshopping the method with a skilled programme user is helpful when working with the ebooks for the first time.

So how do I access the material?

Join the network of existing users. This is easy to do. My next post will tell you how membership works.

Information about the Reading Fluency Programme

I am an educational psychologist who specialises in working with children with learning and reading difficulties. As part of this work, I have been developing a reading fluency programme based on a series of ebooks. There are eighty ebooks and supporting activity books completed so far, of which there are twenty in the primary series. The titles of the these are listed in the widgets sidebar on the left of this screen.

About the Ebooks

The ebooks have been written based on a theory of structured phonics which uses a seven vowel system for word analysis, and are used with a new form of oral impress procedure based on paired reading. This is simple to implement. It differs from the types of paired reading procedures documented in the literature, as it involves additional repetition to develop phonic associations and also builds in visual tracking. The aim is to develop automaticity in reading. This is done by providing repetition both through the text of the ebooks, as well as through the procedures used to work with children. Tutorial letters are provided for parents, and manuals for therapists and teachers. There are also evaluation procedures to establish a child’s needs as well as to establish whether the programme is effective.

Access to the Ebooks

The increasing costs of educational material are a major impediment to getting children with reading difficulties right. Our aim is to provide access to a data base of low cost materials which are effective. As the materials are in electronic form, they are being accessed by parents, teachers and therapists both locally and internationally. There is an expanding network of people involved, and our experience suggests that the materials can be used in schools and in homes, as well as at distance. The ebooks, activity books and supporting tutorial letters and manuals are provided by email, and are currently being used by the parents, teachers and therapists of an increasing number of children with reading difficulty both locally as well as in a number of other countries.

Results

The programme is based on neurolinguistic theory, and the results from assessments and parent evaluations have been very promising with both primary school age children as well as with adolescents. As a result a number of therapists and teachers are using the ebooks and other materials in our data base both to work with individual children as well as to develop reading centres. If you would like access to the reading fluency programme and supporting materials , email me at pottercs@gmail.com  so I can put you in touch with others who are using the programme, and work out what you need.

If you would like to read more about the reading fluency programme, you can access a chapter about the programme’s theory, its development and its initial results by clicking on the following link

http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/using-phonically-based-e-books-to-develop-reading-fluency

The chapter was published in 2015 and reports results up the end of 2014. Since then there have been additional results as the programme has expanded, indicating its effectiveness. The chapter is published open-source, and can be downloaded free of charge. For more recent results, you are welcome to email me at pottercs@gmail.com