Removing Barriers in Reading Comprehension by improving Oral Speaking


Recently, I was asked to write an article for Teach Primary magazine alongside John Murray (@ReadingExplorer.) The topic was to explain the pedagogy behind the Read Write Perform approach. You can read the article here:


A big focus with Read Write Perform is to get teachers to value oral speaking skills and demonstrate how much speaking and listening benefits other areas of the English curriculum. I see with many schools the constant accountability of work in books through Book Scrutinies is forcing many teachers to neglect this part of the English Curriculum. This was something I discussed in Episode 1 of Taking Teaching Back:


The obsession with work in books can create barriers for certain children if writing is something they struggle with. I have seen this in maths and reading especially. If the only way a student can show their understanding and reasoning is by writing it as a full sentence in their book, it may look like they are struggling if writing is challengeing. 

Through technology, I have found this can remove that barrier for certain children. Tools such as the iPad allow students to record themselves discussing, explaining and reasoning which can be evidenced through apps like Seesaw. 

I wanted to share a recent example of this idea using a new feature to one of my favourite apps. Thinglink is a FREE app I have used for years. It is a brilliantly creative app where students can add digital content onto photographs. There are plenty of examples of how we have used the app in class, which you can read here

With a recent update, they have now added the feature of adding audio tags. So students can record audio and embed it onto a picture. 

I decided to use this for some comprehension using the song I blogged about recently:


After listening to and discussing the song, I challenged my Year 4 pupils to orally deconstruct the lyrics using Thinglink. I shared an image of the lyrics and the children added oral notes deconstructing, inferring and exploring vocabulary and word choice. This was then saved to our School Thinglink account where it was linked to the student's Seesaw profiles. 

Here is an example of their finished work:



This idea would easily lend itself to maths with children using the same strategy to evidence their reasoning with different questions and problems.

The students loved the opportunity to really delve into the text and discuss different key elements of the song without worrying about their writing. Of course, this wouldn't be something I would do all the time, but as I discuss on my training all the time, the key is balance.

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