A South Wales primary school is at the centre of a pioneering
educational project, which aims to give young children a love of
reading for meaning that develops comprehension skills, and involves
parents in the process.
Coed-y-Lan School in Pontypridd is undertaking a pilot of
‘SPECtacular Story Talk’, a skills-based programme which provides
a gentle introduction to reading for enjoyment and understanding,
showing parents and children how to share and explore books together.
‘SPEC’ refers to the set of comprehension skills in the programmes
that help children to make meaning of text for themselves:
summarising, predicting, enquiry and clarifying.
“The response has been even greater than we expected and early
feedback from parents has been extremely positive,” said creator
Donna Thomson, of Think2Read, the not-for-profit company which runs
the programme. “We plan to extend the number of sessions to
accommodate the extra parents who want to take part.”
“Children, teachers and parents are particularly excited by
Think2Read’s interactive ‘SPECtacular Story Talk’ resources that
provide them with memorable and easy to apply reading strategies for
use in the classroom or at home”.
She added: “The involvement of parents in their child’s education
is known to be hugely beneficial: it promotes important two-way
communication between the school and the family, and fosters common
aims that provides all-round support for the child.”
Coed-y-Lan’s headteacher , Robert James said: “Think2Read fulfills
most of the skills of the new curriculum in Wales because it asks
children to summarise, predict, evaluate and make connections when
they read text – in other words to understand, and enjoy, what they
“Also, it helps teachers because it has a specific framework of
teaching ideas. Unlike other schemes where you have text books and
group readers, this is all ICT-based. For example you have a
Powerpoint on the screen that takes the children and the teacher
through the various skills and the questions in the lesson.
“That gives us real structure to what we do. The teachers love it
and the children have really taken to it like ducks to water, and it
has been absolutely marvellous for them – because they are given
specific roles, for example scribe or negotiator – so they are
learning collaborative skills too.”
Think2Read is a not-for-profit UK-based educational project committed
to help teachers fulfil the reading comprehension and learning
potential of children of all abilities.