Key Principles

Thinking Reading is specifically designed for secondary school students who are struggling with reading to catch up rapidly and completely.

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Key Principles of Thinking Reading

Students regularly average three months’ progress for every half hour lesson. The programme synthesises five powerful, well-documented approaches to dramatically improve progress in reading while minimising time out of the regular classroom, and is targeted at people reading more than three years behind their peers.

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Thinking Reading for one-to-one intensive instruction is based on five well-researched approaches:

  • Phonics and Phonological Awareness, to help students master the correspondence between spoken and written language. 
  • Direct Instruction, to help students rapidly improve and maintain their reading skills.
  • Precision Teaching, to help students master and retain learning.
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis, to motivate and engage students.
  • Responsive Feedback, to ensure that students grow rapidly in skills and confidence.

Key principles of the programme are:

  • Systematic assessment of student knowledge of sound-spelling associations
  • Thorough analysis of the material to be taught
  • Texts are selected for engaging presentation and subject matter
  • Carefully calibrated steps so each one is achievable, but never unnecessary
  • Steps are taught to mastery
  • Rigorous success criteria including fluency of reading
  • Carefully scripted teaching sequences and error correction procedure
  • Tightly focused, briskly-paced lessons
  • High levels of student engagement in every task
  • Students are able to choose from a range of graded texts at each level
  • Reversible relationship between reading and spelling is explicitly taught
  • Vocabulary building to increase comprehension and knowledge
  • Immediate feedback for students
  • Student independence is fostered through mastery and high expectations
  • Students are motivated by seeing their progress presented in graphic form
  • Careful analysis of error patterns to solve problems
  • Teaching decisions are made based on daily student data
  • Extended writing tasks to review and generalise learning
  • Unseen text is used for pre- and post-testing as an independent measure

This programme is particularly effective in enabling students to catch up quickly, because:

  • It identifies missing knowledge and skills and each student’s programme is adjusted accordingly. Time is not wasted teaching students things they already know.
  • Students build skills to fluency, so that they are able to combine them more easily and to generalise them to new material — ‘curriculum leaps’.

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