The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is funding a trial aiming to recruit 50 primary schools in Yorkshire and the North East to test the impact of a computer-based reading programme.
The Lexia software – which aims to improve pupils’ reading ability and is widely used in English schools – assesses each pupils’ current reading ability, so that they can start at the appropriate point on the programme. The approach covers six different areas: phonological awareness, phonics, structural awareness, automaticity, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
The software tracks pupils’ progress as they work independently and automatically provides extra practice in areas whererequired. Teaching staff monitor progress and intervene if students need additional support, using printable resources that are part of the programme.
Students work at their own pace and will be expected to use the programme for 30 minutes, four times a week. Teachers will be given training in how to use the programme through a series of online webinars and will have access to ongoing support from LexiaUK.
The balanced approach and focus on diagnostic assessment is well aligned to the evidence summarised in the EEF’s guidance report Improving Literacy in Key Stage One. While a number of smaller studies have found promising effects of the programme, this will be the first large-scale trial conducted in English schools.
The programme will be evaluated by a team from the York Trials Unit, led by Louise Tracey. Schools who are interested in taking part can find out more on the project page