Azara Blog: Throwing money at kids improves reading skills

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Date published: 2006/11/06

The BBC says:

Struggling young readers make dramatic improvements when they are given tailored one-to-one coaching by expert teachers, research suggests.

A study of around 500 six-year-olds suggested those on the Reading Recovery scheme caught up with their peers in 20 weeks - four times faster than normal.

The government-backed scheme also saw improvements in writing and motivation, the Institute of Education study found.
Reading Recovery, which is part of the government's Every Child a Reader programme, works by giving the poorest readers individual support from specially trained teachers for 30 minutes a day over 12 to 20 weeks.

An evaluation of the £10 million project, which is funded by the government and several charitable trusts, also found that those who did not get the extra help fell further behind their peers.
[T]he high costs of the scheme at £2,500 per pupil - about the same amount primary schools have for one child's education a year - have made it unaffordable for schools without extra financial support.

Educationalists taking the piss, as usual. Who would have thought that one-on-one teaching would do any good? Astonishing, isn't it. Of course one of the problems with evaluating these kinds of schemes is that most of the experts have a vested interest in saying what a jolly good idea it is too, so the "dramatic improvements" have to be taken with a pinch of salt. But it's trivially obvious that one-on-one teaching is bound to help. The real question, as usual, is the benefit versus the cost. And if only the ordinary students of Britain could have an extra 2500 pounds of money thrown at them, and not just the select few who are at the bottom of the pile. Sack all educationalists and instead spend the money on education.

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