‘SWAT’ generally refers to an expert team of trained professionals in critical situations. At St Therese it refers to the special-purpose team that has been created to help students with intensive reading intervention.
The approach involves 10 of the school’s teachers doing guided reading with small groups of students for 30 minutes, three times a week. After just over two terms, the intensive reading program is showing positive results.
Assistant Principal Leonie Sewell said data testing undertaken with the children before the SWAT program and testing done recently indicates a significant improvement in their reading skills.
She said the students really benefit from doing guided reading with an adult who can give them their complete attention.
“An intensive reading program such as this ‘SWAT’ approach also enables each teacher to focus on the individual learning goals and needs of the child for those three sessions.
“And the program exposes the children to a new text each day and an opportunity to read more familiar ones.”
While a number of the children have been reluctant readers especially when they are not at school, the staff at St Therese Primary are confident that as a result of the ‘swat’ approach more students will develop a love of reading as their competency grows.
They may even take part in the Holiday Reading Challenge the school runs each term, which saw 31 students read a total of 693 books during the Term 1 break.