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Primary reading

During During Key Stage 2 children go through a critical transformation as readers. They must consolidate and extend their basic skills, become fluent, confident readers, build a vocabulary of words and concepts, and most importantly be able to strategically comprehend increasingly sophisticated text.

This stage has been described as a transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”.

This review summarises research on primary reading programmes.

  • We looked at all available evidence on programmes designed to improve primary reading achievement, in order to establish what we know works for pupils aged 7-11.
  • We examined all studies of relevant reading programmes from all countries, as long as a report was available in English. (NB Most studies took place in the US).
  • We were then able to assess and compare the effectiveness of these programmes.

Descriptions and ratings for all the programmes are included in this summary.

The results of the review show that

  • the most successful programmes focus on changing daily teaching practices, particularly co-operative learning programmes and structured, phonetic curricula combined with specific teaching methods
  • the approaches that were effective provided extensive professional development

The full report (which this review summarises) is also available.

Primary reading

Educator's summary

As PDF document

As web pages

Key findings

Top-rated programmes

Programmes with limited evidence

Other programmes

Review methods

Full report (186 pages)

As PDF document