05. Catch-up

Literacy catch-up programs for struggling older children and teenagers

Please note that accent differences make Australian, UK and NZ programs more suitable for use in Australia than US and Canadian ones.

The Spelfabet resources from this website can also be used to explicitly teach phonemic awareness and phoneme-grapheme correspondences to adults, and should be used in conjunction with materials targeting fluency, vocabulary and comprehension such as the Phonic Books and workbooks for catch-up readers or the Sound Out Chapter Books and workbooks.

13 thoughts on “05. Catch-up

  1. Debbie Hepplewhite

    Hi Alison,

    Phonics International is also suitable for ‘Literacy catch-up programs for struggling older children and teenagers’ and because the systematic resources are provided as electronic links, they are accessible in most places around the world readily and inexpensively. These might be of interest as they relate to older, struggling learners:

    http://www.phonicsinternational.com/Complete_Works.html

    http://www.phonicsinternational.com/Secondary_Phonics_write_up.pdf

    Warmest regards,

    Debbie
    X

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Hi Debbie, thanks for this feedback, I made these menus and lists up thinking that there were many people who knew their programs better than I did, and that lots of them would quickly get in touch with me and tell me how to fine-tune them, but of course hardly anyone did. So I really appreciate that you have, and have added the links in your comment to the main pages. All the best, Alison

      Reply
  2. KS

    Hi Alison,

    Another teacher and I are creating a reading intervention program for the Year 7 students at my school. Our school has the THRASS resource. I also suggested we buy Words Their Way. I saw you have recommended against WTW but do you have any thoughts on THRASS? Is this a good program to be using?

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Hi, I have used some THRASS materials though I haven’t done the training, but my understanding is that it is not a synthetic phonics program. There are some good things in it, but my experience and what others tell me is that it’s a bit too complex and difficult for many kids and there is a lot of extraneous stuff in it. Have you considered the Phonic Books series for older kids, the Sound Out Chapter Books, or the Rip Rap books and workbook?
      I wrote a blog post about these and other things that are suitable for teenagers at http://www.spelfabet.com.au/2015/09/helping-teenagers-with-literacy. Hope that it provides you with some leads that are helpful. Alison

      Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Hi Jude, memory is a whole complex area in its own right, I just read a book by Prof Susan Gathercole about working memory which included a lot of helpful stuff, but perhaps you are talking about a different type of memory difficulty? If you mean working memory, this is maturational so if it’s a young student they mainly need to have information broken into smaller chunks, and over time as their memory matures they will be able to handle more information at once. Try this guide for teaching tips: https://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/WM-classroom-guide.pdf. Prof Gathercole also has a Youtube video in which she explains working memory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S65D2oazf8M. Hope that’s useful, Alison

      Reply
  3. Jude Evelyn Mathers

    Add-on to previous post-
    My student will be in my mainstream gr 3/4 class this year and I’m guessing is 9 or 10. It is very difficult to teach him as he doesn’t retain the teaching from previous sessions, I’ve been told by former teachers.

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Ah, I think you probably need to get the school speech pathologist and/or psychologist to assess him, as this could be a language impairment, a vocabulary issue, attention, or something else, or a combination of things. Perhaps it is working memory, and he’s just being given too much information at once so he can’t take it all in, but anyway I’d highly recommend a proper assessment to drill down on exactly what the issue or issues are.

      Reply
      1. jude mathers

        Thanks Alison. I haven’t yet read his file, but he has been tested. Maybe I’ll get back to you once I’ve read his assessment, if that’s ok. I understand that working memory is a problem but there may be more to it. He is still sounding out words, and forgets letter sounds that he was taught the day before. Teaching is not reaching his long-term memory. I’ll try to track down the book you’ve mentioned, thank you.

        I’m feeling increasingly frustrated by the fact that you have such an incredible breadth of information here online and it all makes so much sense, and yet this information is not being disseminated to teachers. Why are teacher educators so out of touch with what you are saying? I am so grateful for the incredible amount of work you have done and shared. I am doing my darnedest to share your site with every teacher I know. You must be truly dedicated to work so tirelessly- I’m sure that in the end, your dedication will eventually pay off and things will change.

        Reply
        1. alison Post author

          Dear Jude, Thanks for the lovely feedback, I’m so glad you find my site useful, it sorely needs an update which I am about to get going on so it’s ready in time for the new school year. Thanks for sharing it and I hope others find it useful too, it’s certainly been a learning curve for me and I hope that it does contribute to gradually turning the early literacy educational ship. Alison

          Reply
  4. Elisha Byrne

    Hi Alison,

    Thank you for providing invaluable advice and sharing fantastic resources and ideas. Do you recommend MultiLit’s program, MacqLit? I’m a Primary Enrichment teacher who is currently looking for a quality program to support students in small groups and one-to-one. I’m also considering ‘Cracking the ABC Code’. Do you have a preference?

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Hi Elisha, I don’t personally have either of these programs but they both look pretty good to me, and are both based on sound research and current models. Alison

      Reply

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