Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Every Child a Chance Trust (LI 14a)
1.1 This submission is from the Every Child
a Chance Trust, a charity which aims to unlock the educational
potential of socially disadvantaged children through the development
and promotion of evidence based, early intervention programmes.
The charity was initiated by the KPMG Foundation and is funded
by a coalition of business partners and charitable trusts. It
is a successor body to the KPMG-led coalition that set up the
Every Child a Reader 2005-08 pilot initiative to tackle
the problem of a static 6% of children (35,000 a year) entering
secondary school without even the most basic skills in reading
and writing (below National Curriculum Level 3that is,
with literacy skills at or below the level of the average seven
1.2 In 2008 the Trust provided evidence
to Sir Jim Rose's dyslexia review. This submission is based on
2. TEACHING DYSLEXIC
2.1 An issue we sought to answer in our
evidence to the Rose dyslexia review was whether Every Child
a Reader works for dyslexic children.
2.2 We summarised evidence from the evaluation
of Every Child a Reader commissioned by the KPMG Foundation
from the Institute of Education. This showed children receiving
Reading Recovery making, on average, 20 months progress in word
reading age over a year compared to 7 months in the control group
receiving a range of other interventions. At follow-up one year
later, children who had received Reading Recovery were still doing
as well as their chronological age band. They had an average reading
age of 7 years 9 months compared to 6 years 9 months in the comparison
group. Their superior performance was evident on a wide range
of testsword recognition, phonics, reading comprehension,
spelling and grammar. The children who had been involved in Reading
Recovery did better than the national average for all children
(across the whole ability range) in their end-of-key-stage National
Curriculum assessments. 86% of children who had received Reading
Recovery achieved the expected level for their age (Level 2+)
in Reading, compared to 84% of all children nationally. 77% achieved
Level2B+ compared to the national 71%. In Writing, 83% of children
who had received Reading Recovery achieved the expected level
for their age compared to 80% of all children nationally.
2.3 The children involved in this evaluation
were selected at the start of the study as the very lowest achieving
children in Year 1 classes. While there will be many reasons for
their literacy difficulties, it is inconceivable that this lowest
achieving group would not include large numbers of dyslexic children.
Dyslexia affects between 6 and 10% of the population, according
to British Dyslexia Association informationand 20% or more
are "at risk"' of dyslexia (if a very wide-ranging definition
is used) according to a recent No to Failure report. Clearly,
any population of very poor readers, such as those who receive
Reading Recovery, must by definition include a very much higher
proportion of dyslexic learners than 4-20%.
2.4 Data from three years of Every Child
a Reader, and from many more years of Reading Recovery UK
annual monitoring reports, consistently shows that eight out of
10 children receiving Reading Recovery are returned to average
literacy levels for their age after around 40 hours of one to
one teaching, with the remaining two out of 10 ("referred"
children) making twice the normal rate of progress (nine months
progress in reading age over four to five months teaching). Given
that a high proportion of those taught are bound to be dyslexic,
the conclusion can only be that Reading Recovery works, and works
well, for dyslexic children.
2.5 The children who receive Reading Recovery,
moreover, show a good fit to what we know about dyslexia in the
child population. 66% are boys. Many are reported by their teachers
to have severe problems with phonological awareness, and many
have diagnosed speech and language difficulties. Many are reported
to come from families with a history of dyslexia.
2.6 The following case studies, written
by their teachers, describe typical children in Reading Recovery.
James is a quiet, hard-working little boy who
always does his best, but he just couldn't seem to make any progress
with his reading and writing in his Reception year and this continued
into Year 1.
His older sister has a diagnosis from an Educational
Psychologist to say that she is dyslexic and has struggled all
the way through primary school, making minimal progress. James
showed all the signs of going the same way.
James was born with a cleft lip that was corrected
when he was a baby, but he is still receiving speech therapy and
finds it difficult to make some sounds as well as having immature
James began Reading Recovery in March and at
first made slow progress. His mum was very supportive, coming
to observe a lesson and doing his homework with him every night.
One day while reading, James made an amazing discovery, that "my"
is the same as that one on the other page!" We then looked
for "my" on every page and in lots of books. He was
thrilled to find it was the same everywhere. From that point James
started to move forward with confidence and has continued to make
good progress. He is now reading simple stories and writing all
the time. His class teachers see him as a different child in the
classroom, not just in literacy lessons but also in his whole
attitude to learning.
A few days ago James had a speech therapy review
and his therapist was surprised at his progress. He had made good
progress with sound production but his use of language had risen
from the bottom 3% to average levels. James is a much more talkative
and confident little boy, bouncing into his lesson each day already
knowing what he wants to write about.
It may well be that James is dyslexic like his
sister but we don't think it's going to stop him learning to read
and write, thanks to Every Child A Reader and Reading Recovery.
Vincent scored very inadequately in initial Reading
Recovery evaluations. He could only read and write his name and
the word "I" after nearly two years at school. Vincent
lives with his mother who works (visits his father) and attends
an after school club, thereafter is tired when he eventually gets
home. His mother did not support his learning during his reception
year saying "he should just be playing".
Vincent has a very poor memory and general knowledge,
eg did not know what a calf, foal, lamb, duckling or chick was.
He also has huge listening and focusing problems. At the beginning
of term his mother told me that his father is dyslexic and had
not learnt to read at school. His mother and father are now supporting
him consistently. His mother has been to his Reading Recovery
lesson in order to be able to support him further.
Initially Vincent had to learn to focus when
reading and writing. He then succeeded in learning all his sounds;
establishing left to right directionality, knowing when he had
read something incorrectly ("that doesn't make sense"')
and attempting to self correct. He still had to say the sounds
in even a simple word like "i-t" in order to read the
word correctly, which made it very slow for him. He could be reading
about for example a "hare" and for an entire book for
weeks and then change it to "rabbit" on the final page!
These factors all impacted on the speed of his progress.
After 20 weeks of daily Reading Recovery lessons,
however, Vincent has succeeded in catching up with his classmates.
His mother is delighted that he has learned to read successfully.
For the first time his class teacher says that he has become enthusiastic
about his school work.
2.7 Observation of Reading Recovery lessons
by the Every Child a Chance Trust Director (previously a principal
educational psychologist, with many years of experience in assessing
children for dyslexia, including providing assessments for the
then Dyslexia Institute) show that children exhibit familiar dyslexic
patterns of persisting b/d confusion, holistic rather than left-right
processing (for example, was-saw confusions), confusion of similar
sounds such as e/i, omission of word endings such as -ed, and
weak short term memory.
2.8 It is important to note that the children
who receive Reading Recovery have a complex profile. Many have
very poor home support for learning. Some have poor attendance.
Some have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties resulting
from trauma or poor parenting. Some have ADHD, Down's syndrome,
a history of hearing loss, or general "moderate learning
difficulties" (MLD). Many are EAL learners. In some cases
the cause of their literacy problems may be one or more of these
factors, not dyslexia. It is our view, however, that in many,
case these additional factors interact with the phonological awareness
problems that characterise dyslexia. The children are both dyslexic
but also at the same time challenged by a range of additional
factors that impede their learning.
2.9 Evidence on the impact of other less
intensive "layered" interventions used in Every Child
a Reader is not as comprehensive as that for Reading Recovery,
but still substantial. The original version of the Primary Strategy's
Early Literacy Support has been researched by Peter Hatcher at
the University of York, as has Reading Intervention and these
interventions have been shown to be effective for children who
have made a start in reading and are not in the very hardest-to-teach
group. Evidence of impact of the Better Reading Partnership scheme,
the Fischer Family Trust Wave 3 intervention and Catch Up Literacy
has been reviewed by Greg Brooks in his very recently updated
research review, "What works for pupils with literacy difficulties?"
All were classed as successful for the groups at which they are
targeted. Again, it is highly unlikely that the significant numbers
of children supported by these schemes did not include many who
3. WOULD SPECIALIST
3.1 Greg Brooks was unable in his exhaustive
review to find any evidence for or against the impact of specialist
dyslexia teaching (that is, teaching provided one to one and in
very small groups by a teacher with a specialist dyslexia qualification).
Little formal evaluation appears to have been done in this country.
One evaluation of a scheme introduced by the Dyslexia Institute
("Spell It") did not show a significant impact for the
school-based intervention, though there was evidence for the impact
of a parent-provided teaching programme.
3.2 A recent report by Chris Singleton,
published by the No to Failure charity, presents a different view.
We do not, however, consider that this report met its remit in
providing Ministers with a review of evidence on interventions
for dyslexia. Such a review might be expected to evaluate:
evidence on the impact on children's
progress of intervention from teachers with specialist dyslexia
trainingbut only four studies in the review involve such
evidence on the impact of the interventions
widely used by specialist dyslexia organisations: Gillingham-Stillman,
Alpha to Omega, the Hickey language training course, Units of
Sound, the Dyslexia Institute Literacy Programme(DILP). Only one
study was presented, the Spell-It study referred to above.
3.3 Evidence from studies involving specialist
dyslexia-trained teachers or methods used under the aegis of dyslexia
organisations, or involving children identified as dyslexic or
(through screening) at risk of dyslexia are summarised in the
The outcomes of these studies can be compared with those for Reading
Recovery used with the very lowest attaining six year old children
(irrespective of any presumed dyslexia)Ratio Gain 4.2 (BAS
|Study||Ratio gain reading accuracy
||Ratio gain reading comprehension
||Other or not stated whether accuracy or comprehension
| Thomson 1989, Hornsby and Farrer 1990
||"Make progress in the order of 18 to 24 months per year" (RG 1.5 to 2)
|Hornsby and Miles 1980||
||RG 1.9 for reading and spelling
|Thomson 2003||1.53 and 2.0
|Rack and Walker 1994||
|Rack and Hatcher 2002 Spell It study||
|Study of 12 dyslexic children in an independent specialist schoolPhonographix
|MTSRa methodology specifically devised for dyslexic childrenreviewed by Greg Brooks
||Reading RGs ranging from 1.6 to 4.5
Spelling RGs ranging from -3.6 to 13.4
|Whiteley (2007) children identified as at risk of dyslexia using DEST screening
||40% "benefitted" from a group systematic phonological training (25 hours, 15 weeks) scheme, but 60% made no progress or declined further. After further 15 weeks of one to one teaching the percentage benefitting rose to 66%
3.4 The argument is made in Singleton's review is that
as dyslexic children, without intervention, make very much less
than normal progress, ratio gains of the order reported represent
good impact. However the research literature overwhelmingly shows
that this very much slower rate of progress applies to all poor
readers. Brooks reviews a large number of studies with such poor
readers that show ratio gains of four and above.
3.5 It would also be expected that Singleton's review
would evidence on the progress made by children identified as
being dyslexic, but very few of the studies review meet this criterion
as the author reports a dearth of studies of this nature. Instead
the review is about what works for children with reading difficulties,
and thus repeats that carried out by Greg Brooks for the DCSF
in 2007. The only difference is that the Singleton review includes
of non-UK studies, but at the same time is very much less comprehensive
as it draws from Brooks' review only those studies which used
phonologically based interventions, omitting those of a varied
and different nature which produced effect sizes or ratio gains
just as high (for example, Paired Reading (RG 4.6 comprehension),
Catch Up literacy (RG 4.6 comprehension), Better Reading Partnership
(RG 7.2 accuracy 9.2 comprehension), Dennis Lawrence's self-esteem
based approaches, Inference Training (RG 4.3 accuracy, 17.4 comprehension),
Early Literacy Support (effect size equal to a phonologically
based comparison programme).
3.6 The rationale for the omission of studies that were
not phonologically based is stated to be that the fundamental
problem experienced by dyslexic children is acquisition of phonological
decoding skills. This seems as logical as saying that because
the fundamental problem with reading experienced by visually impaired
children is poor vision, only interventions based on visual methods
will be useful. The task of any scientific research in reading
is to identify what methods work for children with literacy difficulties,
not to pre-suppose what those methods will be.
3.7 Given the current lack of any robust evidence on
specialist dyslexia teaching, the view we expressed to the Rose
dyslexia review was that it would be inappropriate and unethical
at the present time to offer children such teaching instead of
Reading Recovery, or indeed instead of other interventions reviewed
by Greg Brooks for which there is already an evidence base.
4. THE RELATIONSHIP
4.1 To us, it seems that Reading Recovery embodies many
of the features that dyslexia experts would want to see offered
to dyslexic learners:
use of a highly trained specialist teacher;
multisensory learningas an example, tracing
letters in a sand tray, teaching reading through writing and vice
techniques to help children analyse the phonemes in
rigorous teaching of phonics;
cumulative teaching, with teaching points from one
lesson or one part of a lesson revisited repeatedly;
overlearningnew learning taken to fluency;
teaching children syllabification/chunking and
an emphasis on metacognitionmaking the child
aware of strategies they are using successfully, so that they
can generalise them to new situations and texts.
4.2 What is different in Reading Recovery, however, is
that whilst phonics is taught rigorously and cumulatively it is
not taught in a set sequence. The grapheme-phoneme links that
are initially taught are chosen to be of high salience for the
child (for example, occurring within the child's name, or in book
with which they are familiar and enjoy reading). Another difference
may be the skill of Reading Recovery teachers in finding ways
around a child's profound phonological awareness difficulties,
and building from strengths to weaknesses (from the known to the
unknown) rather than adopting a deficit model.
5. WHAT ELSE
5.1 We emphasised to the Rose dyslexia review that Every
Child a Reader is not the only solution to dyslexia. The programme:
largely applies to Year 1 and 2 children;
only applies to children who cannot read in this age
group; this would exclude many dyslexic children who do learn
to read reasonably well but whose dyslexia manifests itself in
other ways, notably spelling;
leaves 15% of those who have received Reading Recovery
who have made an average reading age gain of nine months in four
to five months' teaching, but not caught up with their peers and
so will require further help; and
does not address the mathematical difficulties that
often characterise dyslexia, or the need for ongoing help with
spelling, organisational and study skills.
5.2 Dyslexia, moreover, does not go away when children
become competent readers and writers. It represents a lifelong
difference in the way that individuals think and learn, and as
such demands appropriate curriculum access arrangements throughout
5.3 We take the view that dyslexia is a learning difference
that only becomes a disability if we fail to adapt the way we
teach and the way we organise our classrooms to accommodate the
learning styles of children with diverse needs. We have seen at
first hand the misery experienced by children whose teachers have
not recognised their dyslexia or not responded appropriately to
their needs, and agree wholeheartedly with the dyslexia organisations
that these issues need to be tackled. Schools need to have effective
approaches to dyslexia that include:
awareness level training for all class and subject
teachers and teaching assistants (such as that universally available
to schools through the National Strategies Inclusion Development
Programme, which was recently developed in partnership with leading
independent dyslexia organisations); and
access to advice from specialist knowledge of dyslexia
who can help class and subject teachers differentiate their teaching
and create dyslexia friendly classrooms.
5.4 Schools also, however, need to make sure that they
tackle the core difficulty for the majority of dyslexic childrendifficulty
in learning to readand that they tackle this early on in
a child's career before the effects of anxiety and frustration
set in and remediation becomes more difficult. Our view is that
Every Child a Reader provides schools with a well evidenced means
of achieving this goal.
5.5 Importantly, it offers a route which avoids a policy
that provides something at age six to one group of children that
is different from that provided to another group. In the past,
some schools and local authorities used to provide a two-tier
service for children with literacy difficultiesone for
sheep (dyslexics) and one for goats (what psychologists have called
"garden variety" poor readers). Authorities which ran
these services (a dyslexia teaching service and a general learning
difficulties service) put vast amounts of time and money into
deciding which child merited which serviceuntil research
was published which showed there was no benefit in separating
sheep and goats as the same teaching approaches worked for garden
variety and dyslexic poor readers, all of whom appeared to share
the same basic deficit in phonological processing.
5.5 For this reason, we asked the Rose dyslexia review
to consider whether it wanted to recommend:
a two tier system that would inevitably be bureaucratic
and expensive to administer, or
a universal effective provision at age six for all
poor readers, that has shown it can get 86% of them to Level 2
or above in Reading at the end of Key Stage 1, compared to the
national figure of 84% for all children.
5.6 Government currently seems to have chosen the first
option. We believe this decision was based on good evidence. Government
has also made provision for training specialist dyslexia teachers
shared between schools, to provide advice on how to make the curriculum
accessible for dyslexic children and to work directly with children
who fall outside the remit of Every Child a Reader. It
will be useful to see research commissioned to evaluate the impact
of this work
A ratio gain represents the ratio of gain in months in reading
age to months of intervention. Greg Brooks categorises ratio gains
RG of 4 or above-remarkable impact
RG of between 3 and 4: substantial impact
RG between 2 and 3: useful impact
RG of between 1.4 and 2: modest impact
RG of 1.0: exactly standard progress-one
month's progress for every month the child grows older. Back