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.

Our aims:

  • to create a vibrant and distinctive interdisciplinary research culture at UCL Institute of Education that supports innovative and methodologically rigorous thinking in literacy research
  • to 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
  • to bring evidence to bear in public and professional debate on literacy education, literacy policy, and practitioner education
  • to work for the public good by sharing expertise amongst our stakeholders.

Our research addresses a broad range of themes where literacy matters.

  • 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

Find more:

Our staff

Director: Professor Gemma Moss (DLL)
Co-Directors: Dr Sam Duncan (EPS), Professor Robert Savage (PHD), Professor Li Wei (CCM)


Dr Sue Bodman
Glen Franklin
Dr Sinéad Harmey
Teresa Kourdoulos
Helen Morris
Janet Smith
Dr John Smith
Professor Dominic Wyse

Visiting Fellow

Michele Cohen

Find more about our researchers, publications, activities, groups and themes: UCL Research Portal, IRIS

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

More information


Our consultancy projects develop through strong relationships with schools and practitioners.

Our high quality CPD:

  • brings research into dialogue with practice
  • deepens professional knowledge by fostering professional enquiry
  • deepens professional knowledge by fostering professional enquiry

See also:

Our activities

Members of the ILC are currently engaged in:

  • researching the role of Reading Aloud in Britain Today (RABiT)
  • creating resources for ETF which will support the use of phonics post 16 in the Functional Skills English curriculum
  • supporting the use of English-medium reading schemes in international schools abroad
  • evaluating interventions funded by EEF.

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