Trackers - Success Story

Mount Lodge Primary School

Ros Henshaw

(Bed, MA Special Needs, Diploma in SpLd)

Who used Trackers? (sample of 20 pupils Years 3-6)

  • Pupils from Mountfields Lodge Primary School in Loughborough, Leicestershire.
  • Pupils at School awareness, School Action, School Action Plus and Statemented.
  • Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties.
  • Pupils with reading ages within the average range but who have challenging behaviour which affects concentration.
  • Pupils with low average reading ages who are reluctant readers.
  • Pupils with general learning difficulties with standardised reading scores below 85
  • Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia with standardised scores between 85  and 90.
  • Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia with standardised scores below 85.
  • Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties with average reading ages but significant spelling difficulties (i.e. below average).
  • Struggling readers with poor self esteem.
  • Pupils with Speech and Language difficulties who also have significant difficulties sequencing words to make a sentence.
  • Pupils within the Autism Spectrum.

How the software was used.

  • Approximately 20 pupils were asked if they would like to read these stories.
  • They were asked to work individually and in pairs.
  • They listened to the story.
  • Some were encouraged to read the text after listening to each page.They were asked to complete some of the activities after reading a story.
  • They were asked their opinion of the story and explain reasons for their opinions.
  • They were asked to comment on the activities.

What they liked about it? (recorded by pupils)

Stories

  • The pages are lovely and bright.
  • It’s funny so it makes me want to read.
  • Some of the stories are really funny and that makes you want to learn to read.
  • There were some really funny words. Sometimes it felt like I was watching a film.
  • Some of the stories are so funny that it helps you remember what happens first in the story and what happens next.
  • This is such a fun way of sharing a story it makes you want to read. (Year 3 pupil – school action plus)
  • The pictures make me smile.
  • The speech bubbles are really good.
  • The speech bubbles give some of the pages a really good contrast.
  • I loved the graphics. They are really cool.
  • I loved the graphics because they are cartoons and I love cartoons.
  • The graphics are really wicked, especially some of the expressions.
  • These stories are brilliant!
  • It makes it easier to read when I can listen to it first.
  • I can follow the words better when listening as it is easy to see which word is being read.
  • I like it because I do not have to wait for an adult to help me.
  • I really like the different voices. This really helps me. When the voice is the same all through the text, I don’t know what they are saying. With the different voices I can follow the characters better.
  • The sound effects are really good.
  • If kids can’t read – just click, and it will be read to them – and they will learn. (Pupil with Dyslexia and significant behaviour problems).
  • It's funny, really funny – children aren’t grownups and they like really silly stuff.
  • It’s entertaining.
  • We have quiet reading in class every afternoon and I can’t be bothered to look at my book. I look out the window or I pretend to read and skip lots of words. If I could read these stories in class with headphones, I would read every word.
  • When I have finished work in class, my teacher will say go and do some quiet reading. But I am tired and I don’t want to do any reading. But if I could read these stories, I would forget that I am tired and really enjoy the story.
  • Reading these stories like this means that you are getting your own independence. Adults make it boring when they keep interrupting and telling you a word.
  • This way you can get to the good bits and remember them.
  • I like how the writing is in different parts of the page. This makes it interesting.
  • When you are reading a book, I get annoyed when the adult interrupts because I forget where I am and I forget parts of the story.
  • I don’t like reading because I am rubbish at it, but I do like reading on the computer. It’s fun to have somebody interesting to read it for you when you can’t read. I can enjoy the story then.
  • I want to read these stories in class with headphones. This means I won’t have to pretend to read in class. I would read every word and my reading would then improve.

Wordbuild

  • I like the word build as I find it helps me understand how hard words can sound. I can then remember it better.
  • I liked word build because it breaks words down and I can see the parts and it helps me learn the words.
  • I liked working on sounds of words connected to the story. I usually find sound work so boring especially because I struggle to learn sounds.

Sentences

  • The sentence activity was interesting for me because the words are there. I find it hard to get the words to make a proper sentence. This program helps me.
  • It is good to have the words read. This stops me confusing words like ‘stop’ with ‘shop’. These words look the same.
  • I liked clicking on the words. This way you get to remember the sentence in your head, otherwise if you try and spell the words you forget what the sentence should be.

Questions

  • I usually find questions hard to do in class. But I could remember these stories easily, so it was easy to answer the questions.
  • It is so good that I do not have to spell words to answer the questions.
  • It makes me feel I can do something good.

Opinions

  • I do not have to focus on how to spell words to answer the questions. Otherwise I lose what the question said and I also find it difficult to get the words in the right order if I have to try too hard to spell words.
  • I could never do this stuff in class as I could say what I think but can’t spell well enough to write it.This is the first time
  • I have been able to write down my opinions without having to worry because I can’t spell.

General comments about the activities

  • Activities are directed at all levels of ability.
  • The design of the question activity is good because it takes individual pupils’ learning styles into consideration ie. Clues visual (graphics)  / auditory (text).

Application in the classroom and observations.

  • Struggling readers would not only have the opportunity to read when an adult was present to support them.
  • Struggling readers kept control of their learning.
  • Paired reading involving wider ability ranges is possible.
  • The cost of a site licence allows for these books to be available for all pupils in all classes.
  • Many of the most articulate comments came from pupils with low self esteem and low (below average) reading ages but who had Sp Ld including Dyslexia.
  • Many stated that reading these stories was better than having an adult helping.
  • Some pupils also stated that having an adult prompting for reading accuracy made them lose track of the sequence of events.
  • Several pupils commented on how colourful the pages were and that made the story more interesting.
  • The pace the stories were read was very helpful for those pupils who have processing difficulties.
  • They also stated that it was so helpful to decide for themselves which parts of the story they wanted reread to them.
  • Asked to draw some of the characters after completing the story and activities.
  • Very keen to narrate the funny parts and explain why the story was exciting.
  • Many had favourite sections and would asked to listen to a specific story again.
  • Pupils using more descriptive words and detail when narrating the story to others.
  • Many were keen to show their friend parts of their favourite story and click on the sound effects.
  • Pupils with concentration problems really focussed when looking for the change in position of the speaker symbol on each page. This really helps prepare them for the next lines of text.
  • In comparison to prompts from other texts, pupils have an excellent understanding of these stories.
  • Two of the pupils who are unable to read independently, went to see their teacher and ask to have these stories in their class so they could read them during quiet reading. Teacher so impressed, as these pupils are usually very reserved and are unlikely to make requests. Teacher responsible for ICT approached on the same afternoon re purchasing these through ELC.
  • The comments in the speech bubbles really emphasise the characters in the story and this helps pupils with memory problems to stay focussed and retain key points of the story.
  • Pupils often listened back for a second time to sentences they had constructed through the auditory part of the program.
  • Pupils with learning difficulties often find it challenging to check their work after constructing several sentences. This is due to the effort they have had to put in to formulate their ideas, spell and correctly sequence each word. The auditory support of this program gives them the confidence to check as they can hear if their sentence makes sense and therefore are more likely to be successful in any editing that is required.
  • Level 1 looks at high frequency words. Some of the pupils in Year 3 and 4 are unable to read the first high frequency words. They were very motivated through the activities. This allowed them to forget how challenging they were finding these words to read. They remained more relaxed and willing to have a go at working on these words.
  • We take a group of pupils for literacy activities through ICT and co-operative games every week. Pupils take part in a range of activities throughout the afternoon. This is a group of 12 pupils many with significant learning difficulties, poor self esteem and challenging behaviour. We intend to purchase all 6 levels of the Trackers so that we can include them in these sessions.