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Reading and spelling: evidence informed practice in the classroom

15 June 2016

UCL Institute of Education

Summary of Special Educational Needs Joint Initiative for Training (SENJIT) and Centre for Language, Literacy and Numeracy: Research and Practice (LLNR&P) Conference that took place Monday 13 June 2016 at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

The conference was opened by Julie Dockrell, Professor in Psychology and Special Needs (IOE), with a presentation on "How important is vocabulary knowledge for literacy development?" She presented a compelling case for the importance of vocabulary knowledge for language and literacy development. 

This was followed by Dr Chloe Marshall, Reader in Psychology and Human Development, IOE, presentation on "Investigating reading and spelling in deaf children: what can this teach us about reading and spelling in other types of learners?" We were convinced of the importance of understanding the challenges for deaf children to learn to read and spell and how this helps teaching typical hearing children.

"What do we know about children struggling with reading?" was presented by Morag Stuart, Professor Emeritus in Psychology of Reading, IOE and Rhona Stainthorp, Professor at the Institute of Education, University of Reading.  We learnt about the processes involved in word reading and how best to support children to overcome barriers in reading.

"Findings from an on-going RCT on the Pearson Bug Club Reading Programme", was presented by Associate Professor Grace Grima, Director of Research, Pearson. The interim evaluation is showing that Bug club is having an impact on pupil achievement in reading in KS1.

Greg Brooks, Professor Emeritus of Education, University of Sheffield presented, "What works for children and young people with literacy difficulties? The effectiveness of intervention schemes 2016". The presentation highlighted the steady increase in rigorous research of intervention schemes.

At the conference

The presentation on "Mobilising research knowledge in schools: Setting the scene", presented by Dr Catherine Carroll, Senior Research Associate, SENJIT, IOE, set the wider context of the challenges of developing evidence based informed practice in schools.

Finally "Implications of knowledge exchange:  Dynamic assessment in spelling:  A practitioner enquiry project," by Jennifer Donovan, Programme leader SpLD (dyslexia) MA and Rosanne Esposito lecturer in SEN, with four practitioners from Bexley LA.  They demonstrated how a Professional Learning Network with a focus on spelling improved attainment and progress in spelling for primary aged pupils.

The conference was closed by Professor Jane Hurry, Head of the Psychology and Human Develeopment at the IOE, who summarised the key takeaway messages of the day.

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