Institute of Education


International Literacy Centre

Fostering cutting edge research and critical scholarship on literacy, pedagogy, policy and practice.

The International Literacy Centre brings together literacy researchers, practitioners and teacher educators with an interest in developing an interdisciplinary research agenda that can tackle the most pressing questions in literacy pedagogy, policy and practice from the early years and across the life course.

About us

  • Create a vibrant and distinctive interdisciplinary research culture at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) that supports innovative and methodologically rigorous thinking in literacy research
  • Deepen local, national and international partnerships that sustain literacy learning and teaching in the early years and across the life course, paying attention to the diverse ways in which literacy is embedded in the social world
  • Bring evidence to bear in public and professional debate on literacy education, literacy policy, and practitioner education
  • Work for the public good by sharing expertise amongst our stakeholders.
Our staff




Visiting Fellow

  • Michele Cohen

    Our activities


    Key research themes

    • Early literacy development and its challenges
    • Literacy as a lifelong and life-wide social practice – the contribution of ethnography, sociolinguistics and psychology to empirical enquiry
    • Literacy policy and its impact on literacy practices in education
    • Enhancing literacy pedagogy through a focus on what works for whom, under what conditions
    • Tools for studying literacy interventions: process evaluation, theories of change and rapid evidence assessment
    • Deepening professional knowledge and professional enquiry though the study of literacy in diverse settings
    • Transposing literacy pedagogies into other languages and education systems
    • Interdisciplinary perspectives on literacy – what can we learn from each other


    Members of the ILC are currently engaged in:

    • researching the role of Reading Aloud in Britain Today (RABiT)
    • creating resources for the Education Training Foundation (ETF) to support the use of phonics post 16 in the Functional Skills English curriculum. The systematic review is available on the ETF website.
    • supporting the use of English-medium reading schemes in international schools abroad
    • systematic reviews to bring research evidence to bear on practice  as part of a school-based intervention funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

    Find out more:


    Our consultancy projects develop through strong relationships with publishers, practitioners, third sector organisations and policymakers.

    We work to

    • bring research into dialogue with practice
    • deepen professional knowledge by fostering professional enquiry
    • encourage critical thinking and reflective practice that is evidence-informed.
    Reading Recovery

    Reading Recovery is an accredited school-based literacy intervention for five- to six-year-olds who are the lowest attaining in reading and writing.

    From its base within the International Literacy Centre, Reading Recovery Europe promotes high quality professional learning for teachers that enables those pupils who struggle with literacy learning to catch up with their classroom peers. Reading Recovery has been widely researched nationally and internationally. Independent evaluations consistently show it has long lasting impacts.

    Reading Recovery is currently implemented in the following European countries:

    • England
    • Republic of Ireland
    • Scotland
    • Denmark
    • Malta

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    Short courses

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