Tutoring with Alphie is a computer-assisted programme that aims to improve the literacy skills of struggling readers. The programme combines elements of collaborative (or ‘cooperative’) learning, computer-assisted instruction and small group support. Participating pupils are grouped in pairs and follow a series of activities that seek to improve reading comprehension and fluency of expression. Pupils are supervised by a tutor, most commonly a teaching assistant.
The programme was designed by the charity Success for All and was adapted from a programme which was available in the United States for younger struggling readers (6 – 7 years).
This project sought to assess the impact of the programme on Year 6 pupils who were at risk of not achieving Level 4a and above in reading at the end of Key Stage 2. 72 pupils from six schools across England completed the trial. Pupils followed the programme on a daily basis for 30 minutes each day over a period of six weeks. Typically four to eight pupils, split into pairs with similar levels of prior attainment, would participate at the same time.
The study was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation as one of 24 projects in a themed round on literacy catch-up at the primary – secondary transition.