NORTH WALES (Ruthin) - Reading Attack 1/2 day course


Target GroupTeachers/English/literacy co-ordinators/subject leaders/teams


06 March 2018
Price: £ 474.00
Venue: Ruthin Castle Hotel, Castle Street, Ruthin, LL152NU
Time: 1pm registration for 1:30pm start
Cost of 1/2 day course includes all materials



            ‘Developing the skills for the National Reading Test; developing skills for life’


The Challenge


Developing the skills for reading and a motivation to read is a priority for schools in Wales. In spite of this, many of our pupils may not have the independent 'attack' skills or the ability to have a go at reading something unfamiliar, on their own, at speed. This affects pupil independence and may even affect a pupil’s ability to do well in our National Reading Test. We may even have particular year groups that find the test more demanding than others.  This may be a whole school trend resulting in a discrepancy between teacher assessment and the reading test data.


The NRT is a challenge too because we are strongly encouraged to not reduce or modify our curriculum to ‘prepare’ pupils for the test. Many of us agree with this, but we are still faced with the challenge of making sure our pupils are familiar with the test questions as well as developing the stamina to read something at length, independently.


The Solution


Reading Attack is a brand new method and resource that I have developed to help pupils have the confidence, skills and stamina to ‘attack’ a text independently. It has been developed closely with teachers, pupils and senior leaders and the feedback has been excellent.


In a Nutshell – A Brief Overview


To make Reading Attack effective, ideally, you need 2 x 10 minute sessions per week, but it can also be implemented if you decide to allocate only 1 x 10 minute session to this.


·       Pupils are given one of the fiction or non-fiction Reading Attack passages to read. The passages have been differentiated 3 times whilst retaining the same key information so that mixed ability groupings can work and succeed together.

·       Passage 1 has longer sentences, more complex vocabulary and greater length. Passages 2 and 3  have lower vocabulary, shorter sentences and shorter length, whilst retaining similar content.

·       After timed independent reading of the passage the teacher has allocated (attack), pupils are given an oral task to complete with their partner e.g. 2 facts 2 opinions, 3 things you now know about x. One thing that surprised you…etc. Full guidance and examples of these is provided.


Attending the Half Day Event - What Will You Receive?


- Half day training on the core principles of Reading Attack as well as tools to develop the skills that underpin the NRT e.g skimming and scanning.

- All of the differentiated fiction and non-fiction passages you will need to use from Y2 to Y6 for a complete academic year.

- Consistency in teaching methods and practices that a school uses to develop independent reading.

Course Provider: Helen Bowen

Teaching Experience Helen started teaching in 1994 and has 11 years’ experience as a Primary School Teacher in Bridgend. During this time she was also a visiting lecturer at Bridgend College working with Learning Support Assistants.

Advisory Experience Helen was a member of the Newport Literacy Team for 9 years and for 3 years led on English and literacy in the region across primary and secondary schools. She was the regional representative to Welsh Government for the South East of Wales from 2010 to 2013 and was the System Leader with responsibility for Literacy in the EAS.

Other Experience An ESTYN Team Inspector, Helen has sat on a number of national advisory panels including National Drama and the Arts Review Panel, which reported to Welsh Government in the Summer of 2013. She has advised universities in Wales on developing literacy in Initial Teacher Training and was the Deputy Chief Examiner for KS2/3 Assessment from 2009 to 2012. Helen is an external consultant to Welsh Government, and has worked on a number of projects with them. This includes creating the National Literacy Framework representing South East Wales, writing the guidance for the revised English and Welsh PoS in 2015 and more recently creating two ‘mythbusting’ documents on the NLNF and the National Reading Tests. She is also the literacy consultant for the National Union of Teachers and has lead their annual ‘New and Young Teachers’ Conference’ across Wales with key notes and workshops on literacy. 

Philosophy Supporting Schools, Securing Excellence, Helen believes that rich contexts for learning are key to the raising of standards and the development of literacy skills both within English and throughout the curriculum. She has used oracy and drama for many years to explore challenging subject matters and has worked with schools across Wales to explore how this can impact on the key literacy competencies of oracy, reading and writing. This includes using drama to explore philosophical concepts through ‘teacher in role’ and whole class engagement with complex scenarios. Helen is also the creator of ‘Reading Attack’ which is currently used by over 100 schools to develop pupil independence and reading stamina.