City Academy Norwich students have made fantastic progress in reading and spelling thanks to a computer programme (ARROW) which makes use of their voice to help them learn.
Wearing headsets, the students have to listen to individual words, phrases and spellings and then repeat these back. The ARROW programme records this and the students can then listen again to what they have just learned.
Educational psychologists say that using the so-called ‘internal voice’ in this way can be a powerful aid to learning.
This has certainly been the case at CAN, where the results have been impressive. Students follow the programme for 2 weeks, through 10 1-hour sessions. In this short period of time, the average improvement in reading age has been 8.2 months, and 5.4 months for spelling age.
The greatest improvement made so far has been a gain of 3 years and 9 months for spelling, and 2 years and 3 months for reading age.
In recognition of the successful use of ARROW at CAN, the project was demonstrated to representatives from Norfolk County Council and other schools last week.
Year 11 student Jake Coulsey, said: “It has helped me a lot because my writing and spelling were both not that good at the beginning. However, during those weeks that I have been doing ARROW my writing has improved a lot. It has helped me. It’s enjoyable and it’s fun.”
Year 8 student Keileigh Woolley, added: “It’s really fun. It helps me with my confidence and it helps me with saying things out loud. It’s helped me with big words and it’s helped me with my spelling and my reading. I’ve seen the improvement. ”
Heidi Longhurst, CAN’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator, commented: “We’re really pleased with the impact it has had on reading and spelling for our students and how that has transferred into their lessons.”
The ARROW scheme in Norfolk has been run through a partnership between Norfolk County Council’s educational psychologists and the Virtual School for Children in Care. Building on its success with looked-after children, ARROW has been expanded to 40 schools across the county.