Struggling reader – a breakthrough!

I had one of those lovely experiences on Thursday, while teaching at the Bloomfield Learning Centre.

One of my pupils aged 11 (Year 6) had arrived at the centre as a non-reader.  He attended a school where reading had not been taught through phonics or in a systematic way.  Unusually for an 11 year old struggling with reading, he had one great advantage:  a sunny temperament!

I started working with him on adjacent consonants which he found a struggle.  Using the Magic Belt series, we progressed step-by-step.  His progress was slow and for a long time he sounded out every word.  Was I moving too slowly for him to catch up?

Just before Easter we started working on alternative spellings. We had covered ‘ae’ before the holidays and this week I planned to teach the alternative spellings for ‘ee’.

I was reassured to see that he had not forgotten the previous lesson and seemed to take on all the different spellings of ‘ee’.  We followed the routine Sounds-Write lesson with word building and sorting words into their spelling groups.  He then practiced what he had learned on ‘Wordshark’.   Had I taught too much?  Was he going to retain all of it?

At the end of the lesson he began to read a book with the ‘ee’ focus (‘Cherry Trees’) from the new Alba Series.  Interestingly, he had chosen this series over the Totem Series which has monsters in it. To my delight, he read the text of the first few pages quite fluently.  He was so pleased!   No sticker or prize could have matched the reward of his sense of achievement!

It was that moment when everything fell into place! He felt he was a reader!  I am so chuffed!

P.s. –  If you would like find out more about the phonics programme we use at the Bloomfield visit

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