This small scale, action inquiry project considered the question ‘Can the explicit teaching of reading skills through the implementation of graphic organisers improve Literacy standards, confidence and develop independent learners?’ The intervention was carried out in a year 8, set 2, English class where learners were explicitly taught reading skills through the introduction of graphic organisers. The graphic organisers acted as an alternative scaffold for learners as they accessed a complex text. This strategy provided learners with opportunities to develop confidence and resilience as they consulted visual aids to assist with their learning in addition to consulting the teacher as a scaffold. For many this developed self-esteem and consequently, learners independently attempted difficult reading tasks.
To evaluate the intervention, a mixed methods approach was used, collating both qualitative and quantitative data, and findings triangulated in order to enhance the validity and inferences made regarding the success of the intervention. Key findings were that the inclusion of graphic organisers did improve enjoyment in lessons. The scaffolds also appeared to develop confidence for many learners as they did not consult the teacher for support. It was suggested that many learners became more resilient, independently attempting tasks as they were engaged with the text. The findings also suggested an improvement in attainment for many learners, contributing to both their Literacy scores and English levels. The inquiry would suggest that graphic organisers do have a positive effect on learners’ reading skills and, for the majority, their confidence, suggesting that they are a valuable inclusion to the teaching of Literacy. If the strategy is imbedded learners could consequently become more independent.