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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - updated advice

This guidance will assist schools and educational settings for the spring term. View guidance


Reading Recovery

Reading recovery is a literacy programme designed for the lowest achieving children aged around six that enables them to reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks.

Further information

A well-trained literacy specialist can contribute to your strategy for addressing the effects of learning disruption on children in your school. The Leicester City reading recovery training package offers: 20 half day training sessions. New training commences early in 2021.

Why Reading Recovery?

Reading Recovery (RR) has significant evidence of high impact - over 200 research studies document benefits for students and schools. A recent meta-analysis [1] found an effect size of 0.59 which the EEF cites as ‘high impact’ [2]. A study of GCSE attainment of children 10 years after receiving RR [3] demonstrated RR gains were sustained. RR impacts phonics [4]. RR is highly rated by numerous independent organisations e.g. What Works Clearinghouse [5], the Early Intervention Foundation [6], the Institute for Effective Education [7] and the Education Endowment Foundation [8]. Pro Bono estimated potential economic benefits of RR demonstrating value for money [9].

In the last complete school year, 5142 children received individual teaching in RR and around 40% of those children were disadvantaged based on FSM indicators. In 2019, 99% of children entering RR had standardised reading ages of less than 4 years 10 months, indicating that they were the lowest attaining in their cohort and over 80% were accelerated to average levels after their RR programmes.

Deficits in oral language development and literacy development coincide with social disadvantage. A trained RR specialist teacher in your school carries out initial assessment in reading, writing and language, then shapes a series of lessons based on each individual child’s starting point. The RR specialist can also guide small group learning; advise and support class teachers; contribute to strategic mapping of literacy needs and provision; and develop partnership working with parents to support home learning.

Reading Recovery Europe (RRE) has a well-established track record in design and QA of training literacy specialists. Regional Teacher Leaders provide this training.

Why now?

There has been significant learning disruption[10] as a result of the pandemic. Disadvantaged children have been disproportionately affected[11].

Schools are under pressure to ameliorate learning loss within a dynamic environment of changing health conditions, staffing, regulations, support and funding[12].

Attempts to support disadvantaged children through laptop provision and funding for tutoring have not been extensive enough or fast enough to meet the needs identified by school leaders. ‘Many teachers feel government decisions have exposed a huge gap between policy and the reality of life in schools, and they do not feel listened to.’ [13].

Schools are best placed to identify the learning needs of their students. RR is available in the most disadvantaged areas of national concern, where children’s learning has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. RRE worked with schools during the pandemic to prevent the gap widening during school closures, developing models of quality remote teaching.

Find out more about Reading Recovery

Find out how to train or retrain a Reading Recovery teacher as your school’s literacy specialist. You will be able to develop a bespoke school response to accelerate individual and group learning in literacy.

New training commences early in 2021. Reading Recovery teachers begin teaching immediately while they train.

Our offer to Leicester City Schools

The Leicester City Reading Recovery Training Package offers: 20 half day training sessions, with lesson observation; in-depth assessment; detailed analysis of teaching and learning and practical advice and training; equivalent to 4 half day visits from a UCL/IOE Reading Recovery Teacher Leader; data tracking and reporting and assessment training for your intervention manager for £2,500 (Recommended UCL/IOE charge £2,940).

In the current climate much of the training will be virtual, but will be fully quality assured to enable accreditation as a Reading Recovery teacher upon completion.

Contact your local Reading Recovery Teacher Leader

Contact Reading Recovery Europe

Reading Recovery Europe UCL Institute of Education University College London 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL United Kingdom.


[1] D’Agostino & Harmey (2016) included RCTs and high-quality quasi-experimental studies.

[2] The EEF places 0.59 in the range of ‘high impact’

[3] Hurry & Fridkin (2019)

[4] Children who received RR scored higher than 60% of control/comparison groups on measures of phonological encoding, phonological awareness, word reading, decoding, and letter identification (Harmey & Bodman, 2020).





[9] (awaiting updated link)

[10] ‘A duty of care and a duty to teach: educational priorities in response to the COVID-19 crisis’.

[11] UK parliament

[12]Research funded by UKRI in partnership with the ESRC as part of their call to address the health, social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

[13] Associate Professor, Alice Bradbury

Please consider the environment.