Institute of Education


Schools visited by a Spanish academic to see how IOE literacy programme supports struggling readers

14 May 2019

Schools in Portsmouth that undertake the Reading Recovery programme have received a visit from a Spanish academic today (Tuesday 14 May) who observed how schools are helping struggling readers overcome their problems with literacy.

Small boy reading book

Dr Maria Angeles Martin Del Pozo (Universidad de Valladolid) spoke with teachers and school leaders and saw the UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Reading Recovery programme in action, observing a staff training session as well as sessions with pupils. Portsmouth has one of the 25 professional development centres across England that offers accredited training and professional development for teachers in Reading Recovery.

The Reading Recovery programme helps thousands of pupils every year to improve their reading and writing by providing literacy support for the lowest-attaining five- and six-year-olds through daily one-to-one reading sessions with trained specialist teachers. Recent research revealed that children are more than twice as likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs including English and mathematics after following the programme, compared to peers matched by ability who didn't participate.

Dr Martin Del Pozo’s trip is part of a 5-day Erasmus visit to the IOE’s International Literacy Centre to see some successful and effective pedagogies for early literacy, particularly those with a strong evidence base and data tracking the long-term impact of intervention.

National Leader for Reading Recovery, Dr Sue Bodman said: “Reading Recovery has made a positive contribution to the life chances of so many children.  There is substantial research evidence to show that Reading Recovery is an efficient and effective approach to overcoming literacy difficulties, particularly those most at risk of failure. The model of professional development is crucial to their success with children and so being able to visit Reading Recovery in Portsmouth will give useful insight. Much of its success can be attributed to the model of training and support provided to teachers on the programme.” 

Reading Recovery is implemented across the world.  The Reading Recovery team at UCL lead the intervention across Europe. England, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Malta currently implement the programme with around 1000 teachers working in Reading Recovery.