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The difference is, children can choose to challenge themselves.



"Wait, 242 words? - I’ll read that one, it's got more words.


I have read  2200 words this week!”

Data-Driven Learning

Data-driven learning is not new. Children’s progress is assessed in regular tests. Measures are taken and their performance graded.


Current data-collecting practices are not as effective as they could be for the following reasons:

· data is collected retroactively – the learning process has already happened;

· data is collected weeks apart;

· data measures child attainment not the effectiveness of the learning process.


In our Total Words reading books, we have added key data-gathering features that make data-driven learning highly effective by making evidence available to measure day-by-day progress and to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the learning process and of the resources themselves.


Our data gathering features include:

1) Providing word counts for the total number of words in each book which means teachers can:

  • Precisely measure the amount of reading done each day (the number of words read);

  • Calculate the increase in the number of words read accurately day-by-day in each repeated reading of a book; and then

  • Calculate the number of words a student needs to read in order to make progress;

  • Gather information on the ‘progress potential’ that is best for a student i.e. how many unknown words in a text offers them the most efficient rate of progress;

  • Compare the quantity of reading a competent student can complete compared to a struggling reader and reduce the difference;

  • The number of times a student needs to read a book in order to read it accurately;

  • How effectively they retain accuracy, and;

  • How fast a student is reading i.e. how many words per minute they are reading and what progress they can be expected to make in their reading speed;

2) Presenting five books that all relate to the same topic which means data can be gathered on:

  • How well a student can generalise word recognition from one book to another in the series;

  • The impact of previous reading in the five-book series on the efficiency of the learning process i.e. how fast can a student read the fifth book in the series compared to the first?​

  • The type of resources that will be most effective in supporting learning by having information on the ratio of key topic-content vocabulary and high frequency words. 

The data collected can be used to:

  • Profile a individual student’s rate of progress and make bespoke learning plans for very rapid skill development i.e. how many words to they need to read each day to make progress and how many words can they be expected to learn and retain over 1 day, 3 days, 5 days etc.

  • Extend the amount of reading done each day

  • Correlate the amount of reading (total words) with progress in writing, maths and spelling –when reading quantity and fluency increase, writing is expected to increase;

  • Ensure the momentum of progress is kept up i.e. no student remains ‘stuck’ on a reading level for a term – they progress based on the day-by-day measures of their rate of progress,  their current learning effectiveness, not past assessment of attainment;

  • Teaching and support resources are not wasted or used inefficiently – e.g. a learning support assistant can implement reading programme that specifies the number of words to be read, family or peers can supervise the reading practices, and once the level of accuracy and rate of acquiring new vocabulary increases sufficiently, evidence can support the withdrawal of resources.

Data can also inform:

  • Teaching practices, moving the focus to consistently plan learning programmes that are based on the number of skill-practices required to make progress, not on an assumption of innate ability, which means students who have made slower progress will be expected to do more skill practices i.e. to have a programme of learning that is differentiated by practice not reduced access to content.

  • The texts that will be most effective to be used as teaching resources.

  • Identify specific learning needs of a whole school population e.g. identify delays in retaining key words.

  • The choice of resources to align with students’ high interest topics and their reading endurance.


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