I wrote about my first gap yesterday. My second gap is not so much a gap anymore, because I think it has been filled. But let me explain anyway.
There are a few boys (and possibly some girls too), who don’t get reading at 6 or 7 when they’re supposed to. I’ve met them over the years and they present with a range of reasons for why they can’t read. Family breakdown is probably the main thing, with medication coming in second – either having too much or not having enough. I suppose it’s difficult to focus on reading a book at home when your father is beating your mother regularly and then leaves you, never to be seen again. Similarly with medication: drugs do work, but if they dosage is wrong they really don’t, and this can have a catastrophic effect on learning.
By the time these children get to books the schemes that exist in the infant part of the school just doesn’t suit. The English may be at the right level for them, but the themes are not. These children are watching drama like Eastenders and have lived through some tough stuff themselves. Reading trite stories about animals that can talk can be a little demotivating.
I have to declare an interest here – we use Dockside at my school and it’s brilliant. For the one or two readers who did miss the reading boat the first time around, Dockside has really helped them catch up. They will be going on to secondary school being able to read, instead of pretending that they can.