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15th May 2015 - Is Catch Up® Literacy suitable for pupils with dyslexia?

Catch Up Blog

Pupils with dyslexia present schools with a real challenge. This is not surprising as brain imaging techniques reveal that the brain of the dyslexic is 'wired differently'. So it is unlikely there is any teaching approach or product that could be a 'breakthrough' with dyslexia.

However, in the absence of a brain scanner in every Special Needs Department, it can be difficult to distinguish between a pupil who has considerable literacy difficulties and a pupil who has dyslexia. Added to that, it usually takes a long time before pupils have the necessary in-depth assessment carried out by an educational psychologist or a specialist dyslexia teacher to ascertain if dyslexia is the correct diagnosis. So, many schools settle for an interim diagnosis of ‘reading difficulties with dyslexic tendencies’.

Because of the difficulties surrounding a diagnosis of dyslexia, Catch Up® does not specifically collect data on how effective it is for pupils with dyslexia (although we have plenty of data on how beneficial Catch Up® Literacy is for pupils who struggle with reading as they make, on average, close to three times the progress of typically developing pupils. We also know that this data includes some pupils with dyslexia).

However, we do have good anecdotal evidence of dyslexic pupils making progress on Catch Up® Literacy. We glean this feedback from our training Review sessions and the many phone calls to the Catch Up® office with teachers and TAs enthusiastic to share their pupils’ success. So this suggests that SENCOs have found Catch Up® Literacy an important element in their provision map for pupils who they have deemed to have dyslexia.

The bottom line is that schools can’t put a pupil’s learning on hold while they wait for a definitive diagnosis and there are 5 good reasons why Catch Up® Literacy will suit pupils with dyslexic tendencies:

  1. Catch Up® Literacy starts with a bank of assessments that reveal the pupils’ strengths and weaknesses in word processing skills. This means the twice-weekly, 15-minute individual sessions accurately target pupils' needs so gaps are methodically addressed.

  2. Catch Up® Literacy is a book-based intervention where pupils are supported in their reading of a text. This means that dyslexic pupils are able to engage with texts at an appropriate comprehension level.

  3. The individual session includes time spent exploring all aspects of comprehension (literal, inferential and personal response). Many dyslexic pupils have good verbal comprehension contrasting with their very poor decoding skills and this gives them an opportunity to show their strengths.

  4. The individual session links spelling skills based on reading miscues, and this ‘joined-up’ teaching is very supportive of the dyslexic learner.

  5. The content of each individual session is recorded by the supporting adult in a progress booklet. This is a consistent way of mapping small steps of progress which is ideal for the dyslexic learner.

So, Catch Up® Literacy:

  • systematically teaches both word processing skills and language comprehension skills

  • targets individual needs

  • engages pupils so they enjoy the sessions

Sounds pretty suitable for pupils with dyslexia!

Dee Reid, Consultant, Catch Up® trainer and Co-creator of Catch Up®

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