The librarian of the year on how we can make a difference for reluctant young readers

SecEd - 6th December 2012

The recently crowned School Librarian of the Year, Adam Lancaster, looks at how technology can help make a difference for struggling young readers.


For the past three years, as part of the multitude of intervention activities we run for students with weak literacy skills, we have been undertaking some research into the use of new technologies to improve reading and writing skills.

One area of this is the use of e-readers, such as Kindles, and e-books. Over the three-year period we have worked with students with a range of reading barriers (things that stop them from achieving in reading – i.e. SEN or disabilities, English as an additional language, low reading ages gauged from cognitive abilities tests).

These students have received years of intervention, teaching them an understanding of phonics and the practicalities involved in deciphering texts. These have made little or no impact and the young person remains at risk of not being able to access texts across the curriculum and therefore not making the required progress in attainment and achievement.

The programme we have come up with involves a 10-week period where we have the student for just one hour a week. We aim to try and get through four students per term and therefore 12 per year of the students that require this type of intervention the most. 

The results we have had over this period have been phenomenal. The least students have achieved in this period is an improvement of 18 months in their reading age, but beyond this their attitude in classes, participation, and engagement also improve dramatically.

Read the full piece at SecEd