UCL News


UCL celebrates success of young readers in London

31 January 2018

UCL and the British Library today celebrated the achievements of London school children who have overcome literacy problems through the UCL's Institute of Education's (IOE) Reading Recovery Programme.


The programme helps thousands of primary school children every year across the UK and the Republic of Ireland to improve their reading and writing and is led by the International Literacy Centre (ILC) at IOE. Supporters of the programme include actor Gillian Anderson, journalist Janet Street-Porter, educational trainer and author Pie Corbett and Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale.

"What better location to launch the 2018 Reading Recovery Read Aloud than the British Library. I am honoured to support this event that promotes a love of reading for all children and, at the same time, celebrates the important work of libraries across the UK." said Gillian Anderson.

Today's Reading Recovery 'Read Aloud' launch marks the start of a month-long series of events and activities aimed at encouraging children to read their favourite books out loud in various locations to increase awareness of how literacy problems can be tackled.

Speaking before the event, Janet Street-Porter said, "I am so excited that children are going to be taking part in Read Aloud at the British Library. I spent hours after school at my local library in Fulham as a child, it was my special place. Reading is a precious gift that opens so many doors in life and Reading Recovery does really valuable work in helping children get started in life."

Pie Corbett said, "The British Library is the heart of our reading culture. There can be no better place for children to visit and celebrate their reading. Celebrate the many new worlds that reading unlocks where we can ride on the back of a bear, enter another world through a wardrobe, listen to a spider talk and even watch as an Iron Man chews metal fencing like spaghetti."

In 2016-17, 7125 children in the UK and Ireland received literacy support through Reading Recovery from 1001 Reading Recovery teachers in 893 schools.  Four out of five pupils who completed their Reading Recovery programmes were lifted to age-appropriate levels of literacy in an average of 18 weeks. 44.5% of Reading Recovery pupils were reported as disadvantaged compared to the 14% of pupils who are eligible for free school meals in England.

Professor Becky Francis, Director of the IOE, added, "I am delighted that students who have been helped by our Reading Recovery programme have been able to come to the British Library today and read out loud in such an iconic building.

There is substantial research evidence to show that the Reading Recovery programme is an efficient and effective means of overcoming literacy difficulties for many children, especially those most at risk of failure. I think it is great that the hard work of the children and the professional learning and expertise of their teachers has been celebrated here today. I hope this event inspires other teachers and children to take part in reading events across the country."

The ILC are planning to end this year's campaign with a big 'Read Aloud' event for UCL staff and students in the IOE library on World Book Day on 1 March.



Credit: Sarah-Jane Gregori, UCL 

Media contact

Rowan Walker

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8515

Email: rowan.walker [at] ucl.ac.uk