“The C-Pen ReaderPenTM has made a dramatic difference to the student’s life both emotionally and academically.”

This is the conclusion of Gay Shillaker, Specialist teacher at West Hatch Secondary School in Essex following the pilot of the C-Pen ReaderPenTM with one of her students. The academy currently has over 1,200 students on roll, with 102 on the Special Needs Register, 62 with English as a Second Language and 210 Pupil Premium pupils.

Gay describes how the pen was piloted, “We trialled this pen with one of our Dyslexic Year 7 students. She uses the ReaderPenTM every day across all areas of the curriculum with a number of sta that includes myself on a one to one basis. Sta are fully aware that the student uses the pen and have allowed her to use it as and when required. This is usually when there is continuous text to read and the C-Pen ReaderPenTM gives her the independence so she is not reliant as much on in class support.”

Gay goes onto to add, “The product has been most bene cial in areas of the curriculum that involve large volumes of reading and writing including English, Geography and History. Furthermore the student has found the eDictionary very useful because it reads out the words as well as giving correct spelling and de nition.”

So what does the student, other teachers and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) think?

Gay explains, “Feedback from teaching staff , SLT and of course the student herself have been very positive.

The main bene ts being improved independence, uency of reading, improved comprehension, enabling her
to understand the text and extending her vocabulary knowledge. This allows support to be redirected, enhancing the values of the school’s ethos to promote independent learning, resourcefulness and resilience in pupils.”

But how did this affect the student’s academic performance?

“Evidence from recent progress checks has shown a marked increase in her National Curriculum (NC) levels and she is currently working above target in English, Maths and Science. As a consequence both her con dence and self-esteem have greatly improved. The student does use the pen at home and the parents are fully supportive. They have been extremely impressed and encouraged by her independence.”

“As she is now able to fully access the text she has the con dence to not only read aloud without the use of the pen but ask questions which she wouldn’t have done before. Her current reading age has now increased from 7 years 7 months in October 2014 to 9 years 2 months as of 17th May 2015.” 

Case Study 2: Ryde Academy

“In summary I would consider the C-Pen ReaderPenTM to be a huge success for the reasons outlined above and I would highly recommend it to other colleagues/schools and students which is why we would love another one!”

Ryde Academy is another school who has adopted the C-Pen ReaderPenTM, with 4 students being allocated a pen on a daily basis to use throughout the duration of the school day. The pens were used in a multitude of lessons encompassing a wide range of tasks, from revision to reading tasks to group work activities. The school has 1,053 students, with 20% on the SEN register.

The school felt the product would considerably enhance the students’ access to learning – being able to read words effectively, independently and discreetly in the classroom.

Nicola Pritchett High Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) at Ryde Academy explains how they decided which students should be equipped with the pen and the desired results they were hoping to achieve.

“We use the Salford Reading Test, which helped us to identify students with lower than average levels of literacy who could bene t from the ReaderPenTM. The desired outcome of using the pen was to ensure the students were able to independently decipher difficult or unknown words when reading through passages of text on a worksheet or textbook, enabling them to fully understand the work as a result. This would particularly aid students with dyslexia or low reading ability.”

So what did the students like about the pen?

“The product appealed to the students because of its size. The pens were portable, easy to use (with simple, basic buttons) and were discreet – which was an extremely important feature for our students who did not want to draw attention to the aid.”

By having access to the pen, were there areas of the curriculum that yielded greater benefits to the students? “The pens have been hugely successful in English lessons, for reading/scanning through long extracts and also in Science lessons, where students come across new and challenging scientific vocabulary.”

How would the school summarise the key benefits of the C-Pen ReaderPenTM?

Nicola explains, “The pens have enabled teachers to let students read or look up difficult words independently, differentiating a variety of texts, without having to ask for help. The students using the pens all said they felt more independent as they did not need to ask someone else to read the more difficult words and they could get through their work at a quicker, more efficient pace.”