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Evaluating an innovative classroom reading intervention in Years 2 and 3

Researchers: Professor Brahm Norwich | Dr Alexey Bessudnov ...

Project overview

Despite continued efforts to ensure that all children benefit from Key Stage 1 teaching, between 7-18% of pupils still show reading delay when they enter Key Stage 2 at age 7.

The Integrated Group Reading (IGR) programme aims to help these struggling readers. This study will evaluate the programme on a national scale. This follows on from a smaller-scale evaluation, which indicated that Year 2 and 3 children with reading delay made impressive progress with the IGR programme.

The IGR programme integrates into existing guided reading teaching for those children who require a more focused approach. It highlights the connection between phonics-for-reading and the importance for children of story and meaning-making. It also provides teachers with carefully designed materials ‘ such as short books and story-specific games ‘ to underpin this. By combining lively, story-focused teacher-led small group work with one-to-one consolidation with teaching assistants, it aims to be fun for children, simple and thorough.

The researchers will first examine whether children’s reading accuracy, comprehension and reading attitudes will be enhanced by IGR compared to usual teaching approaches. Secondly, they will examine how the programme is taught in practice and teachers’ experience of the approach. In the main evaluation, 80 teachers from 40 schools in four areas of the country will participate in a cluster randomised trial, involving 320 children in experimental and control groups. Participating teachers will attend a one-day introductory training and will then be supported by their local literacy advisers and the project team.

The outcomes and recommendations of this project will be communicated through networks, conferences and publications on a national and international scale.


  • Professor Brahm Norwich
    University of Exeter
  • Dr Alexey Bessudnov
    University of Exeter
  • Dr George Koutsouris
    University of Exeter
  • Jan Stebbing
    University of Exeter
  • Anita Wood
    University of Exeter

  • Eleanor Ireland
    Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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