The aim of this project was to evaluate systematically on a national scale the Integrated Group Reading (IGR) programme. The evaluation began in September 2015 and ran until August 2017.
The programme is designed as an early intervention taught by class teachers for groups of 4 children in Years 2 and 3 who are delayed in reading. IGR integrates diverse current professional knowledge about literacy teaching using specially developed high quality materials (reading books and story-specific games). It is taught during the existing small group organisation of lessons as part of a class-wide model, with all pupils being in groups receiving teacher attention over a period of a week, supported by a teaching assistant.
The figure below summarises what is involved in the IGR programme:
Bottom right: shows the class divided into 6 teaching groups according to guided (or other group) reading practices (this can vary according class size). One of these groups is the IGR group of 4 pupils identified as being in need of focused teaching
Top right: this programme timetable shows the allocation of teacher and TA time during a typical week of the programme (see ‘Classroom Organisation’ for possible variations to this)
Bottom left: shows the interaction between the class teacher during IGR teaching with the 4 identified pupils (C1 to C4).
Top left: refers to the materials and methodology that inform the teachers’ use of IGR during these group teaching sessions.
Teachers are provided with enough sets of books and accompanying story-specific games (IGR Learning Packs) for a minimum twice-weekly intervention period of 26 weeks. These materials are all story and/or rhyme-based and have been designed and produced to exemplify the methodology.
The IGR approach to small group reading instruction is different and distinct from that of guided reading. It has a number of principal distinguishing features:
- every book becomes the hub of a complete learning cycle (for in-depth learning)
- a systematic ‘pick up and teach’ approach for busy teachers
- appealing books and games are tied into an incremental progression
- story-focused learning
- IGR supports the enjoyment of reading and encourages deep engagement with text
- the IGR learning cycle covers 6 linguistic levels (whole story, sentence, receptive vocabulary, story words in context, analytic phonics, story words out of context)
- in every teacher-led IGR lesson five linguistic levels are covered
- the sixth linguistic level (story words out of context) is covered in the TA follow-up session
- story-specific games ensure high levels of engagement and the development of memory
- story introduction is direct – as storytelling – rather than metacognitive
- memory / comprehension checking is light touch and unobtrusive
- in IGR the principal aim and focus is the development and practice of reading itself
- there is no silent reading – in IGR children learn to read aloud together and individually in a collaborative way
- IGR methodology requires a constancy of lesson structure and adherence to programme detail
- the work of the TA is an integral part of the IGR learning cycle