Who is it for?
Fresh Start is a systematic synthetic phonics programme for struggling readers aged 9 – 13+. Pupils are taught at their challenge point, so they learn to read accurately and fluently in just 25 minutes a day.
Fresh Start is for students who:
- are not yet reading age appropriately
- have missed schooling or are late arrivals into school
- are new to the UK education system
- are learning English as an additional language.
The programme is published by Oxford University Press and includes:
- daily phonics lessons
- 34 weekly Modules with age-appropriate decodable fiction and non-fiction texts
- activities to develop pupils’ comprehension, spelling and punctuation
- seven Anthologies for extra reading practice in school or at home
- a handbook with comprehensive planning.
Decodable, age-appropriate stories and non-fiction texts
Every day, pupils learn new letter-sounds and review previous sounds and words. They apply what they’ve been taught by reading words containing the sounds they know in lively, age-appropriate stories and non-fiction texts closely matched to their phonic knowledge. By the end of the programme, they are able to read these accurately and fluently.
Time required for teaching
Pupils are taught either individually or in a small progress group for 25 minutes each day. This means they learn at their ‘challenge’ level for over two hours a week. The duration depends on each pupil’s starting place. Some pupils might need only a few weeks’ tutoring; others may need two or three terms.
The reading leader
A reading leader coordinates the teaching. This might be the Key Stage 1 reading leader or, in a secondary school, the SENCo.
The reading leader organises practice sessions for the reading tutors, assesses pupils’ phonic progress half-termly, and ensures tutors’ time is protected so tutoring can take place every day.
Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities
Pupils with significant cognitive delay are better taught using Read Write Inc. Phonics Fast Track Tutoring. Although designed for younger pupils, the programme uses a smaller-step approach and provides a greater amount of practice.
The importance of teaching students to read
Fresh Start, 34 decodable Modules for students who read hesitatingly and find it difficult to read new words.
The role of the reading leader
Organisation, assessment and focused support for struggling readers.
Impact on progress
Students and teachers talk about increased reading ages and confidence.
Assessment and grouping
Assess pupils’ phonic knowledge before they start the programme, and every half term. Teach those at the early stages of the programme one-to-one.
Well-trained reading tutors
Pupils make rapid progress when they have individual support from an enthusiastic and well-trained tutor – either a teacher or teaching assistant.
The Virtual Classroom has over 600 phonics films to send home and pupils take home their Fresh Start module and an anthology every week.