Why use scripts?
The scripts include questions from the four levels of questions described in a system widely used in the field of speech and language development.
The aim of the scheme is that the children will abandon the scripts once they have gained understanding and experience in using the four levels of questioning. They are able then to apply the questions to any of the younger Pals chosen books, and also to generate stimulating discussions.
Some of these skills are illustrated in this conversation between an Older and Younger Pal at Pakeman Primary. Despite the awkwardness caused by the filming it is possible to see the warmth of the relationship between the two Pals, the Older Pals use of stimulating questions and the Younger Pals confidence in replying.
- The scripts coach the older Pal, or adult, in the different types of question forms that can be used to develop the reader’s comprehension. The scripts are a tool that is used initially to give the older Pal, or adult, confidence. Once their knowledge and confidence are developed they are able to produce their own levelled questions.
- Whilst they are using the comprehension scripts the older Pals can focus on developing their positive feedback and strategies to help the stuck reader. Once these skills are established they are then able to move their attention to making up their own questions.
- The scripts and the reading record forms give the Older Pal a structured role, this increases their engagement in the paired reading activities. One SHS practitioner noticed that in cross-age reading groups she had run previously the older children seemed to get bored quickly and were often not following what was being read, or asking questions. With the introduction of the Pals structure she found the older children had a clearer understanding of their role, showed an increased sense of pride in their role and supported more effectively.
- The scripts include questions that encourage discussion and sharing of experience between the pair. The questions also help the pair to work together to develop better understanding of the emotional literacy and philosophical meanings presented in the stories.