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Q: The children I am working with are all reading books at either Catch Up® Literacy level 7 or level 8. However, they are unable to get through the books in just two sessions and need three. The children are all EAL learners, and none of them make more than three or four miscues, on average, per session – they simply read a little slowly! Am I able to stretch the books out over three sessions until their reading rate becomes more secure, or should I put them back down a level?
A: It is absolutely fine for learners to carry on reading the same book for more than two sessions. The guidance that we give in the Catch Up® Literacy file (page 93) around ‘dividing up the prepared reading’ is very much a guide, rather than a rule. We know that some slightly longer texts as low as Catch Up® Literacy level 5 may need to be read in ‘two chunks’, so it doesn’t seem unusual that some learners may need three sessions to tackle a level 7 or 8 text, particularly given the circumstances described. With EAL learners, it is also important to allow plenty of time for discussion of the text being read, in order to help them fully develop their comprehension of that text. By breaking a book into smaller chunks, and so spreading it across several Catch Up® sessions, this will provide plenty of opportunity for that level of discussion to take place.
The number of miscues mentioned as being made in each session ‘feels’ about right (remembering that we are looking for the learner to read with at least 90% accuracy), but this is without knowing the nature of the miscues or the exact amount of text that has been read. If you feel that your learners are struggling to read the text, have no fluency and/or are not able to understand what they are reading (even with your support), then you may wish to consider going down a level, just to help those skills become more secure.
When you go back to continue with the second or third session on the same book, it is worth ensuring that your prepared reading includes a recap of the text the learner read in the previous session(s), as well as preparing the text still to be read, as this will also aid the learner’s fluency and comprehension skills.
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