As the New Year begins I’ve decided to make some awards to last year’s Springboard stars.
Keenest Student Award: This goes to *Lewis aged 6 who has been a delight for his tutor this term. He was selected for support as his reading and writing skills did not match his good spoken language. At the beginning of term his teacher reported that he would not write anything without one-to-one adult support. His tutor soon discovered that this was because he was afraid of spelling words incorrectly and did not have the letter-sound knowledge to have a go at writing. Lewis has a fantastically positive approach to learning, always listening carefully and trying his best. Our structured phonics programme combined with plenty of targeted praise and encouragement meant that after just a few months the teacher was thrilled to show us how much he was now writing unaided in his class work.
Most Improved reader: This goes to James* who, when he started with us in January had a reading age of 4 years 5 months. A summer-born child who had difficulty concentrating in class at the beginning of Year 1 he didn’t seem too bothered about learning to read and write himself though he loved stories and had an excellent vocabulary. James soon came to like his tutor so much that he wanted to please her so he started to concentrate more in Springboard sessions which helped him to improve his letter-sound knowledge and his visual memory for high frequency words. We knew that he had made good progress but were astounded to find that when tested at the end of term his reading age had leapt to 7 years 11 months- an excellent achievement for a child who is not 7 until next July!
Comedian of the Year – In October’s blog I introduced Shaun* who made the “Why are all the Springboard teachers old?” comment. This is just one of his many one- liners. He once told us that our room “could do with a makeover”. He could also win an award for the amount of distractions he comes up with before he gets down to any work “can I just ask….” “I just want to get….” “I just need a …..” “I just want to tell you about…” Despite his attention difficulties Shaun has improved by five levels in the reading scheme this term and is now writing more than one sentence without complaint.
Most Improved this term – No contest for this award , it has to go to Josh*. At the beginning of term he was really struggling: he didn’t really want to do anything. He was so fearful and lacking in confidence that he just could not try. He used to squirm under the table, get up and walk around the room, wail that he was too tired and throw his head into his hands on the table. He held his pencil in the middle and couldn’t form more than 11 letters correctly. Josh is now a completely different child. He has revealed an excellent memory which has given him the confidence to make a great start with reading. He has gone from being unable to read anything to level 6 of the reading scheme. He now concentrates for the whole session and asks to read more when before he was asking when he could go back to class.
These photos show how Josh has improved not only his handwriting but also his spelling. He has learnt to understand that each sound in a word must be represented by a letter or combination of letters. The only word he asked for help with was turkey asking the very sensible question “Is it an e or y at the end ?” I said both and he wrote them in the correct order. He was so proud of this writing asking me to tell his teacher and his dad – so I’m telling you all as well!
Springboard Super-Fan of the year – Cameron* who I described in September’s blog wins this award. Every time I see him around the school he asks when it’s his turn to come and his dad says he asks every morning if it’s a Springboard day. His face lights up and he leaps to his feet when I appear at his classroom door.
That’s the great thing about working for Springboard-everyone is so pleased to see us: not just the children but also the teachers who really appreciate the work we do.
That’s it for now. Happy New Year to Everyone.
*All children’s names have been changed