The Reading Intervention Programme

Years/Age range


Type of children

Low attainers, including (in various studies) children in the bottom 8% for reading nationally, children with poor reading comprehension, and children with Down’s syndrome.

Child/Adult ratio

Small group

Length of intervention

Y1: 2 x 30 minutes a week for 10 weeks
Y2-10: 2 x 30 minutes a week for 25 weeks

Brief description

This scheme is based on the theory, and evidence supporting it, that it is the combination of phonological training and reading that is important for helping poorer readers. The original research was conducted in Cumbria, and the programme developed from it, Sound Linkage,is a key element within the intervention. The scheme has been used very widely, especially in North Yorkshire, and the research team behind it have used the scheme, and developments of it, with various groups of children with severe literacy difficulties. A variant called ‘Reading for Meaning’ (or README for short) which incorporated extra work on vocabulary and oracy produced good gains in comprehension for Y4 children whose comprehension was well below their reading fluency. Another variant was used in the world’s first randomised controlled trial conducted with children with Down’s syndrome; they made modest progress that was nevertheless useful for them.


For reading accuracy in Y1-6: useful to substantial
For reading accuracy in Y7-10: useful
For comprehension in Y2: useful
For comprehension in Y4 (README project): useful to substantial
For spelling in Y2-10: useful
For reading accuracy of children with Down’s syndrome in Y1-5: modest


Further information


Of all the studies featured on this website, this is the one with the strongest research evidence behind it.