Adopting Bug Club Comprehension helped pupils to enjoy and engage with texts
Tupton Primary and Nursery School is a medium sized school in a mixed catchment just outside Chesterfield.
Key points to take away
- Adopting Bug Club Comprehension helped pupils to enjoy and engage with texts
- Teachers save time on planning and preparation Using the programme saw children’s attainment levels increase 23% in just 5 months
In 2016, Year 6 found the reading SAT very challenging (46% met the national standard) so the school knew that was something they had to tackle. Their children had been doing half an hour of guided reading a day, in addition to English lessons, but they felt they weren’t seeing the impact expected from that and needed to change what they were doing.
That was when they came across the Bug Club Comprehension materials. The school were already using Abacus and Wordsmith, and in the autumn term, Tupton Primary and Nursery School started using Bug Club Comprehension with Years 3 and 4.
Katherine Richards, the headteacher, said, “I liked the look of it straight away. I was impressed by how well it was structured, the range of texts, and the bright, colourful workbooks.” The school did the professional development course as a whole school, which allowed all year groups, from Reception to Year 6, to follow the same patterns of questioning even before the resources for other year groups were available.
The school organised the programme as recommended by the professional development course, in small mixed ability groups. “This was something new for us,” said Katherine, “but we could see the benefit of giving the poorest readers models of good reading, and it’s worked really well.”
Enjoying and engaging
Katherine told us the children really enjoyed it from the start, and were obviously getting more out of it than in their previous set-up for guided reading. “At first, I was concerned that some of the books, like King Kafu and the Moon, are quite short, but because it’s such an engaging text, and the activities are so good, it’s allowed them to really get under the skin of the story and understand it. I remember being out on the playground after school one day and all the Year 3 children were so excited to see the moon out, and saying ‘What would King Kafu think about that?’ And they were really excited to read the next King Kafu story in the magazine.”
“It’s such an engaging text, and the activities are so good, it’s allowed them to really get under the skin of the story”
Adopting Bug Club Comprehension has saved time on planning and preparation as teachers haven’t got to spend hours looking for suitable texts. Before, the children were working in differentiated groups, which might mean teachers preparing 5 or 6 different texts per class every week and generating other activities based on those texts. This was a huge demand on their time, and some of the activities were not as purposeful as they could be.
With Bug Club Comprehension, teachers know that the other four groups will be working on something purposeful in the workbooks which will build up their skills and understanding so they can have really good in-depth conversations during the discussion. The teacher can then spend their time concentrating on the group discussion and ensuring that it is a really purposeful 30 minutes.
A programme that benefits all children
Katherine thinks all children have benefited, good readers as well as struggling readers. The more struggling readers – for the first time ever – are not reading something that’s obviously easier than the rest of the class, which is great for their confidence. It’s also been great for the children who might be good mechanical readers, but whose comprehension does not necessarily match up with their decoding skills. She also thinks it’s been good for their better readers to see how the children who they might have thought of as struggling readers can have interesting opinions about a text, and take part in the discussions.
Adopting Bug Club Comprehension had a positive impact on the school’s reading summative assessments. For example, in Year 4 in October (when the school hadn’t yet started with the programme) only 42% of the cohort were working within age related expectations but by February, this had already increased to 69%. The figures were similar with Year 3.
Katherine found that breaking down the questions into different types really helped; when faced with questions in a test, children can identify the looking questions, the clue questions, etc., and they understand how to answer them. There are children who have gone from getting 2/15 right on a test to over 10/15.
Children can see a book through from beginning to end and are genuinely excited to read what was happening next in the story. Bug Club Comprehension has proven to the children that books can be interesting, fun, and a good way to spend your time.
“Bug Club Comprehension is one of the best things we’ve ever bought. It absolutely does what we wanted,” said Katherine, “All the children I’ve spoken to have been overwhelmingly positive about it. If I were to give one piece of advice to schools starting out with it, it’s to put your trust in it and give it time to work. Children need to get used to a new way of working and start to develop the skills they haven’t necessarily got. You might not see the impact immediately, but when you look through their books at the end of term, it will be really noticeable how the quality and the detail of their answers has improved.
“I’d recommend it to anybody!”