Reading Reform Foundation

25 Years ago Mrs Sharpe became a member of the Reading Reform Foundation, a group of teachers and college lecturers, educational psychologists etc. who were all concerned about the declining level of reading and spelling in our schools, colleges and universities.

She wrote a phonic programme, which she was asked to present to the Foundation and explain how it is used in our school.  In 1993, following serious concerns over the poor standards of reading nationally, our children’s reading progress was monitored and compared to control groups in other schools using traditional methods.  The reading ages of our pupils meant that we were placed top of the league out of all schools that were tested in England. The following are extracts from a Reading Reform Foundation newsletter 1993:-

(original available in the school office)

Reading Reform Foundation, P.O. Box 98785, Tacama, Washington 98498-0785  (206) 572-9966

Did you know that:

  • the reading crisis is caused by poor reading programmes - look-say, “whole language”, “real books” used for beginners?
  • the failure to learn to read is unfairly blamed on the children - “learning disabilities” are really “teaching disabilities”
  • "learning disabilities” need not occur - phonics instruction prevents most dyslexics from becoming word-blind?
  • intensive phonics teaching results in accurate reading, spelling and writing - no guessing pony for horse, no invented spelling, and no predicting?
  • when students learn the written letters, the sounds they represent and how they function (symbolic representation), they are building towards the “abstract attitude” necessary in their future technological world?

Most people do not know these facts and therefore do not realise that a change in the method of teaching of reading is the secret to improved education.

Average Reading quotient at 7+.

For the last fifty years, reading attainment in England has been below potential. We never really recovered from WW II. We need a basis for comparison, to judge:

How good is good?

Beginning at a national average reading quotient 100 based on norming from a sample of children who are already under-performing: we should be aiming at 110+. The Downham Montessori Nursery and Preparatory School was placed top of the league out of all schools in England.

Reading quotient 1993 - Downham Montessori, private school near King’s Lynn.

There are now many different phonic schemes on the market. However our school continues to use its own programme as we have found that it is more detailed and achieves better results.

April 2015

Judged by Ofsted to be OUTSTANDING in March 2009 and OUTSTANDING in ALL Areas in November 2014. See the full report on the Ofsted website.