Garratt Park School

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About - Personalised Additional Language Support (PALS)

Introduction to PALS

PALS has been a part of the school since 2008, and has now grown to four full time Personal Learning Tutors who provide support for more than forty of the pupils in the school.  This additional support is provided to students across the school to help improve their literacy skills to their full potential.  Each student has different capabilities and speeds of progression, and consequently they all have varying targets to achieve by the end of each term given by their PLT.

Our role within Garratt Park School  

  • To provide literacy support to students who are having additional difficulties with reading, writing and spelling and are not working at a similar level to other students within their class. 
  • To implement reading, spelling and writing intervention strategies across the school and undertake individual student profiling with a focus on literacy.  This is done in collaboration with the Language manager, English co-ordinator and English teachers.  (The level of support offered is dependent upon individual needs of the student/group of students). 
  • To oversee, monitor and ensure that reading programs and reading incentives (eg. Rapid Plus, Catch-up) are being implemented consistently within English lessons and throughout the school day (in line with the school’s literacy policy). 
  • To provide personalised learning sessions for students.  This includes revised programme delivery.  Each student will have personalised learning plans to include individual learning targets, proposed strategies and resources and recording of progress.
  • To provide additional support for students who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), particularly in the early stages of development.
  • To lead or team teach small group sessions with students working towards entry level exam work, as well as supporting others in the classroom who require additional  support and strategised implementation in order for them to be able to access the classroom fully.
  • To set up personalised ICT reading programs for individual students that can be worked through at their own pace and as well as facilitating opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with new literacy software such as ‘WriteOnline’ and ‘Clicker 6’.
  • To work and plan in close collaboration with the teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and learning mentors.  This helps to ensure that each child is receiving an all round package of support where all agencies are sharing practice to ensure consistency around the needs of the student in order for them to achieve their maximum potential .

How to support your child at home

Many of the students currently using PALS would greatly benefit from continued reading outside of school to ensure that they continue with their progress, especially during the holidays. 

Parents and carers will be updated with their progress through PALS, and we may recommend certain books or work for them to read and complete at home.  Other than suggestions and set homework directly from us, any reading they do at home is positive: books, magazines, football gossip (back pages of newspapers), shopping lists, TV subtitles; anything that keeps reading fresh in their mind.  The ‘Suggestions for reading at home’ section will go into more detail on some ideas to use with your child or to urge them to try.

The internet can also be a good source of materials to help them with their reading, with quick access to football or TV soap gossip for example and any other news they may be interested in.  It also provides many games, which we use in our PALS sessions as well, that can help build their reading skills.  We suggest some websites to use in our ‘Activities and Games’ and ‘E-Learning’ sections.

“Tips for Parents: Engaging the struggling or reluctant reader” (See the next page on the website)

Activities and Games

BBC Bitesize / cbeebies

The BBC Bitesize games cover Literacy, Maths, and Science, up to GCSE level.  Students seem to particularly enjoy this site and the English games for reading can help with sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling.

Education City (http://www.educationcity.com)

A login is required for this site, which contains games and activities split into year groups from F1 to Year 6+.  Each year group contains games for literacy, maths, and science.  The literacy games (there are many to choose from) mainly focus on word and sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and comprehension.  Similar to Bitesize and the students seem to enjoy it as much.

ICT games (www.ictgames.com/literacy.html)

The games and activities on this site focus on phonics and would be a good site to use with those who are new to reading or finishing their basic phonics.

Galactic Phonics (http://www.galacticphonics.com/)

This website contains more worksheets that others which can be very useful for focusing on individual sounds (‘ear’ or ‘igh’ for example) as they have numerous sheets to go through for each sound.

Games: Trugs, flashcards, word games such as scrabble etc.

E-Learning

Rapid Plus

Each student will have a username and password, and books already set for them to read with quizzes included.

Write Online

Suggestions for reading at home

  • Make time to read together.
  • Make reading and writing a more common part of your daily routines – have your child to write / read out or “remind you” of what’s on your shopping list, or ask them to help navigate the way home by following sign posts.  Even reading more books or newspapers yourself will help encourage your child to gain an interest in reading.
  • Encourage your child to attempt to break down simpler words that they don’t know – Pause to give them time to work out, Prompt by re-reading the beginning of the sentence or sounding out some of the word, Praise and encourage. 
  • If a child does not feel confident or comfortable with their reading then praise, encouragement, and reassurance is important to convince them to keep trying.
  • After reading through something, ask your child questions about the text to make sure they have understood what it all meant.
  • Connect reading with interests.  Some students find it very difficult to improve their reading skills; it can be hard to grasp the many sounds in phonics, word structure, and understanding what they have read.  Because of this they can find the task of reading quite exhausting and repetitive.  Matching their interests to what they’re reading makes it more enjoyable for them, as they will learn about something that interests them rather than just reading for the sake of improving.

Newspapers and news sites can help students look for things that interest them to read.  Many pupils in the school have a large interest in football for example, and we use this in PALS to help some of our students enjoy what they otherwise may have found very stressful by reading through some sports sections of papers or new sites to give them a reason to want to read.

Books are of course an obvious way to get people reading.  Matching books again to their interests, possibly similar to things they watch on TV or films they have enjoyed, as well as matching to their reading level, should help persuade them to pick up and read with enthusiasm.  Comics, magazines, and graphic novels are all good avenues of reading for those who don’t like being faced with pages of solid writing.  Reading along with them can help them better enjoy what they’re doing, and ensure they avoid the frustration of hitting words they can’t break down or sections of text that they don’t understand.

Subtitles.  Turning the subtitles on the television is a simple, quick and easy way to pick up words, or for new readers it is a good way to begin associating letters and groups of letters with sounds.