The brief was to raise literacy standards in a 130 place all-age school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. Seventeen years later all pupils were following the approaches that had been developed. Development continued in mainstream infant and junior schools and the methods were presented at courses for the LA and sponsored by the London Institute of Education. An HMI Inspection of the MLD school reported 'the children read'.
Prior to that, work in schools for children with severe learning difficulty and diagnostic units had laid foundations for the development of Tracks, primarily in terms of the need for direct teaching, and the necessity of starting exactly at the point at which the individual pupil was capable of operating successfully. Much later, experience in advisory positions and educational psychology added to the development of Tracks: in almost every educational setting.
The research that led to the development of Tracks Literacy
The design of Tracks had been the result of a minute by minute process of trial and error. If something was difficult the challenge was to find something to do/say/reorganise, which, at that precise point, would move the pupil nearer to success. The techniques that appeared to be valid next steps were tested with other pupils and the methods recorded so that they could be refined in the light of further experience. The multi-track approach emerged and new techniques were built into this framework as the need for them became clear.
The national scene
There was growing demand for courses as Tracks Literacy spread simply by word of mouth: courses had only started after pressure from teachers.
Tracks came to national attention. There was a meeting with John Stannard, Director of the NLS. The Basic Skills Agency sent a recommendation to the NLS. A TES article followed, recommendations by Jean Gross, then Director of Inclusion, references in the educational department's literature and in May 2005, a prominent place in their training CD Rom: Learning and teaching for dyslexic children. Additionally, in the words of the review team 'an outstanding number of positive submissions' to the Jim Rose review into early reading lead to a session with Sir Jim.
A pedagogy for diversity?
An exploratory study of the Tracks Literacy programme
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