Ten year old who came to me 9 months or so ago not knowing his 2x table has just been assessed at L4a by his school - his teacher was so pleased she came to visit his mother to tell her at home. This success has been based on building up his knowledge of tables and basic facts, such as breaking down 100 and 60 into halves and quarters, so that he has spare brain capacity to read the questions properly and think about them.
This pupil's literacy skills are harder work. He had not got into a habit of reading, and so his vocabulary was largely limited to the everyday. We are working on Susan Elkin's Junior English course, and he is reading a page of the Dorling Kindersley Children's Encyclopaedia either to his mother or to me each day. We unpack and explain anything he doesn't understand, and practise anything he hesitates over. He has managed L4 on mock grammar tests, but his reading is held back by sheer lack of knowledge. However, he is sticking at it, and not forgetting what he has learned. He is also more serious in his behaviour, concentrating rather than pretending that it is funny not to know things. More will follow.