Reading Recovery Europe



Growth in Reading, Oracy and Writing (GROW) 

GROW is a school-based literacy programme for students whose literacy skills are below age-related expectations in the initial years of their secondary education. Participants indicate that GROW professional learning also develops knowledge about literacy which is transferable to whole class teaching. GROW can also be used as an approach to support transition between primary and secondary schools by addressing needs of students in the final year of primary school.

GROW involves a short series of lessons, for individual students or groups of up to three. Lessons usually last between 45 minutes and an hour and are timetabled for a minimum of three times a week, for a 10 week period or over one school term. The GROW lesson cycle aims to produce independent and highly motivated learners, whose literacy improves every time they read and write. GROW is tailored to individual needs based on formative assessment. Goal setting and feedback loops build metacognition and self-regulation (EEF Toolkit) which impact learning beyond the intervention.

Lessons are led by teachers, HLTAs, SENCOs or teacher librarians who have attended GROW professional development. The course promotes understanding of theories of literacy development for older students; formative assessment techniques; the development of strategic activity across reading, oracy and writing and developing metacognition and self-regulation through responsive teaching. Participants will be well-equipped to lead a successful literacy intervention approach in KS3, minimising the need for later revision support.

GROW@KS3 Literacy is designed to complement a school's curriculum and current literacy practices. There should be no substantial outlay for new teaching materials, but it is assumed that suitable texts, both fiction and non-fiction and a variety of genres, published or downloaded from the internet, are available. The practitioner file is included in course costs and attendees are invited to consider the purchase of student booklets. Standardised texts already used in school usually provide adequate pre and post programme assessment.

Evidence underpinning the GROW approach

GROW was developed from a research project and piloted in a number of schools in different regional areas.

Access to GROW Professional Learning

A range of delivery models are available and are led by ILC leaders and our associates:

  • Three day course with gap tasks based at UCL;
  • Longer course over 6 half days with gap tasks based at UCL or in a regional area;
  • Eight session course with additional briefing and evaluation sessions involving SLT from participating schools based in a regional area.

The fee for a three day course at UCL is £650 per person and includes the GROW handbook and other materials and electronic files.

Fees for the extended models of delivery are quoted on a bespoke basis. Please contact us if you would like to discuss hosting GROW professional development to arrange a bespoke package.  Email: ioe.ilc@ucl.ac.uk.  

GROW professional learning events

The professional development course covers - literacy assessment; reading and comprehension; phonics and spelling; writing, including talk for writing and guiding writing; metacognition and the development of self-regulation. The course supports: 

  • understanding theories of literacy development for older students;
  • formative assessment techniques;
  • selection of appropriate, high interest text;
  • using oracy to underpin reading and writing skills;
  • development of strategies to build on the reciprocity of reading and writing understanding the writing process, including high impact work on grammar and text structure;
  • developing critical reflection and responsive teaching;
  • evaluation and reporting using standardised assessments and attitude surveys.


GROW case studies

Student case study

GROW@KS3 Literacy supports students to improve reading accuracy and comprehension using evidence-based approaches; improve writing via talk for writing, and targeted teaching of structure and grammar, spelling and phonics; achieve higher self-efficacy and aspiration; apply skills learned in GROW in other classes and understand how to set and achieve learning goals.

School implementation case study

Having a group of trained GROW practitioners will support: 

  • Development of evidence-based knowledge of literacy learning and literacy difficulties;
  • Finding effective ways to teach students who have struggled to become literate throughout their primary education;
  • Use of GROW observation and assessment tools and techniques to tailor the design of learning programmes for low attaining literacy learners;
  • Analysis of profiles of students' strengths and weaknesses to inform planning;
  • Skilful and fine-tuned teaching;
  • Improvement in literacy level, confidence and motivation of students;
  • Meaningful connections between faculties to ensure that principles of effective practice in literacy are used in all subjects;
  • Enhanced learning of a wider group of colleagues through coaching and collaboration  about students with literary difficulty.
Participant feedback about GROW professional learning 

Very informative and helpful – empowering for both staff and students who will realise that they ‘can do’ (London, 2018).

This has been very challenging PD: that is great. It has involved the active processing of new ideas, information and skills (London 2015).

Really pleased with the whole three days - it’s given me a great deal of confidence (London 2015).

Big thank you! Most useful training I have ever experienced! Is that too many exclamation marks? (London 2015).

Have really enjoyed the training and am excited about applying these ideas in school – thank you! (Devon 2015).

The accompanying materials are excellent and will require careful post-course reading. Superb course, very well presented (Devon 2015).

Really focused and specific intervention, tailored to students’ individual needs - relevant and real (London 2013).

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