Tackling literacy problems early could dramatically reduce the prison population

24 June 2013

Tackling literacy problems early could dramatically reduce associated short and long-term problems, such as behavioural issues in school, teenage pregnancies and the number of young people who enter the criminal justice system.

Research initiated by the European Centre for Reading Recovery at the Institute of Education (IOE) has found that illiteracy has a fundamental link to a person's behaviour and life choices. Implementing successful literacy interventions at an early age is crucial to a child's future - helping to prevent disengagement not just in school, but society as a whole. It is also cost effective - for every £1 spent on this, between £11 and £17 of public money is saved in other areas .

The IOE is launching the UK's foremost treatise on the subject – 'Reading Recovery and Every Child a Reader: History, Policy and Practice'. The book works on several levels: 

• Provides a practical guide of how to implement Reading Recovery with Every Child a Reader in schools and systems.

• Works as a professional development model for schools and policy makers trying to effect positive change, not just in reading, but through any new learning programme.

• Offers an account and critique of the levers and threats that operate in the political arena, where there exist moral imperatives and strong evidence base for the direction of change.

Sue Burroughs-Lange and Amanda Ince, Co-Editors of 'Reading Recovery and Every Child a Reader', said:

"Here's the evidence on how to ensure that no child in our schools need ever suffer from being unable to read or write. It's vital that adequate tools are in place when they start school in order to tackle these issues so that all children have the best opportunity to lead a successful and fulfilling life."

Every Child a Reader (ECaR) is a whole school improvement strategy for literacy. It aims to ensure that all children who need additional support with learning how to read and write are given access to the type of intervention they need.

At its heart is Reading Recovery, a daily one-to-one literacy programme for the lowest achieving children aged five to six, which enables them to reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks. Longitudinal research continues to demonstrate that no other programme achieves such positive results so swiftly and with such lasting effect.

In addition to their core role, Reading Recovery teachers implement the ECaR strategy within a school by mapping, providing and monitoring a range of other literacy interventions across the primary age range. Specialist teachers working to close the literacy gap share their expertise to improve practice and raise standards across the school. Research shows this is the most effective way to get the greatest possible impact and value for money from Reading Recovery.


For further information, please contact the IOE press office:
James Russell j.russell@ioe.ac.uk / 0207 911 5556 or Rachel Sullivan r.sullivan@ioe.ac.uk /0207 911 5423

The Institute of Education is a college of the University of London that specialises in education and related areas of social science and professional practice. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise two-thirds of the Institute's research activity was judged to be internationally significant and over a third was judged to be "world leading". The Institute was recognised by Ofsted in 2010 for its "high quality" initial teacher training programmes that inspire its students "to want to be outstanding teachers". The IOE is a member of the 1994 Group, which brings together 11 internationally renowned, research-intensive universities.

Editor's Notes:

To request a review copy of this book please contact the publisher, IOE Press, Sally Sigmund tel.  0207 612 6388 s.sigmund@ioe.ac.uk 

Book endorsement:

"Grounded in extensive research and deep experience, the book presents both a clear argument for the necessity of highly trained expert reading teachers in every school as well as the practical issues that need to be grappled with at every level."  David Reedy, United Kingdom Literacy Association

"...overwhelming. This accessible and powerful book should be essential reading for teachers and ministers alike." John Bangs, Senior Research Fellow, Cambridge University, formerly OECD and NUT executive

'Reading Recovery and Every Child a Reader' presents the educational and economic arguments for early intervention, and the evidence for Reading Recovery's national and international success with young, socially disadvantaged, and vulnerable learners.

For all those interested or involved in early literacy and the prevention of literacy failure; for those who have heard about Reading Recovery or Every Child a Reader but are not familiar with their operation, and for those involved in managing large-scale school improvement, this book provides examples of policy and practice that ensure success.

• It describes the features of Reading Recovery – how it operates for each child, how experienced teachers learn new expertise through a challenging professional development course, and how integral quality assurance structures ensure optimal results.
• It illustrates how Every Child a Reader with Reading Recovery provides primary schools with the professional expertise to ensure that every child is able to read and write by the age of 11.
• Drawing on insights from Change theory, it shows how a successful small-scale project can be scaled up to extend its reach many times over without any loss of effectiveness.

As schools take responsibility for demonstrating that their teaching methods are educationally sound and cost-effective, this book provides facts and figures to show how, with strategic intervention and carefully informed monitoring, every child really can become a reader, a writer, and an ongoing learner.

The authors have been closely involved in both Reading Recovery and Every Child a Reader and write from a variety of perspectives and roles. They are at the European Centre for Reading Recovery at the Institute of Education (IOE), one of only four institutions worldwide accredited as a centre for the training of Reading Recovery national leaders.

"This is a must-read book for policy makers and educators." Gay Su Pinnell, Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University

'Reading Recovery and Every Child a Reader: History, Policy and Practice' edited by Sue Burroughs-Lange and Amanda Ince, £23.99, ISBN 978-0-85473-996-7 is available from all good bookshops and online retailers. Please visit www.ioe.ac.uk/ioepress for more book information and suggested ways to order.