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Oxford University Press Courses
This new addition to Pearson’s Rapid series, Rapid Plus, caters for KS3 learners with reading ages between 6.6 and 9.6.
Based on proven pedagogies, previous Rapid courses have been repeatedly shown to drive huge improvements in confidence and accelerate learning, often doubling, tripling and even quadrupling students’ rates of progress.
Rapid Plus has been developed with input from independent literacy consultant Dee Reid and aims to support students struggling at KS3, as well as EAL and SEN readers. The materials are well-designed and ordered sequentially, helping students boost their self-confidence through a series of stages.
What’s immediately apparent is that the Rapid Plus Reading Books for students don’t employ stark colours or obvious branding; instead, they outwardly resemble standard fiction books, therefore minimising the sense of suspicion many students can feel when placed on a reading intervention.
Pearson has ensured that a balanced range of both fiction and non-fiction texts are provided as stimulus, so as to encourage wider and more varied reading. By exposing readers to different genres in this way, Rapid Plus allows readers to develop not just in English, but across a wider curriculum of subjects.
This combination of balanced text choices with a forward-thinking approach to literacy makes Rapid Plus really stand out. The course is carefully designed to target the roots of students’ reading issues, rather than simply focusing on ticking a ‘literacy’ box.
One stand-out feature is the ‘Before reading’ pages included in each Reading Book. These introduce characters, plots and tricky words to help students contextualise ideas and gain a better understanding of what they’re reading.
As well helping to boost students’ confidence, they enable students to begin making links between literal and implied meanings.
It’s a form of guidance that lets students develop their skills of deduction, before the scaffolding is gradually removed in line with increases in their reading ability.
Rapid Plus leaves readers with effective reading skills that will stay with them.
The Reading Books at each Rapid Plus stage are laid out with an optimal number of words per page in accordance with the Catch Up pedagogy practised by Dee Reid (see catchup.org).
This attention to detail shows how the stories used go beyond traditional notions of ‘reading difficulty’ by factoring in a number of other metrics that will help readers improve and refine their skills over time in a sustainable way.
The Rapid Plus materials are also available via Pearson’s ActiveLearn online platform, allowing the content to be accessed remotely. With students able to continue their reading at home, schools can thus use the resource to encourage a uniquely organic and accessible approach to reading.
You’re looking for a course to support readers disaffected with traditional reading interventions. These books look the part, and will quickly and efficiently make children better readers.
Find out more by visiting pearsonschoolsandfecolleges.co.uk.
Reviewed by Adam Riches
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