Pupils’ praise for literacy tool which is bumping up reading levels

Students at the City Academy at work using the ARROW literacy programme which has improved their rea

Students at the City Academy at work using the ARROW literacy programme which has improved their reading and spelling. From left, Jake Coulsey, 16; Hayden Lovell, 15; Chad Brett, 15; and Keileigh Woolley, 12. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Pupils in Norwich have been showcasing a literacy tool which has upped reading and writing levels by months in just a fortnight.

Students at the City Academy at work using the ARROW literacy programme which has improved their rea

Students at the City Academy at work using the ARROW literacy programme which has improved their reading and spelling. From left, Jake Coulsey, 16; Hayden Lovell, 15; Chad Brett, 15; and Keileigh Woolley, 12. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Children at City Academy Norwich (CAN) have given a run-through of ARROW, a computer programme used by Norfolk County Council to improve children's reading and spelling skills.

It records their voice and echoes it back to them, which psychologists say accesses and reinforces the so-called internal voice.

Students in years seven to 11 who completed an ARROW course – 10 hours spread over two weeks – saw an average increase in reading age of 8.2 months and an average increase in spelling of 5.4 months.

Though the scheme – run through a partnership between the council's educational psychologists and the Virtual School for Children in Care –was initially focused on looked-after children, it has since been expanded to 40 schools across the county.

Students at the City Academy at work using the ARROW literacy programme which has improved their rea

Students at the City Academy at work using the ARROW literacy programme which has improved their reading and spelling. From left, Jake Coulsey, 16; Hayden Lovell, 15; Chad Brett, 15; and Keileigh Woolley, 12. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Chris Snudden, the council's assistant director for education, said: 'Pupils using ARROW have shown tremendous advances in their reading and spelling age. It is a fantastic opportunity for children who struggle with some aspects of reading or writing, as it not only improves their literacy skills, but also gives them a great confidence boost.'

She said it could be expanded to include numeracy.

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Heidi Longhurst, CAN's special educational needs coordinator, said the best results after one course included a pupil who had improved by two years and three months in reading and another who had improved by three years and nine months for spelling.

'We're really pleased with the impact it has had on reading and spelling for our students and how that has transferred into their lessons,' she said.

Jake Coulsey, 16, a year 11 CAN student, said: 'It has helped me a lot because my writing and spelling were both not that good at the beginning. However, during those weeks that I have been doing ARROW my writing has improved a lot.'

Do you have an education story? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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