The Literacy Intervention Toolkit (LIT) programme aims to improve the reading ability of children in Year 7 who scored below Level 4 at the end of primary school using a method known as reciprocal teaching. Reciprocal teaching methods encourage children to ‘become the teacher’. They are taught how to apply four comprehension strategies: summarising, clarifying, questioning, and predicting. These strategies enable children to check that they understand the content of the material they are reading and can make inferences based on what they have read.
The LIT programme is tightly structured, providing training to staff as well as a set of detailed lesson plans on the use of reciprocal teaching to deliver basic instruction in literacy. However, the method of delivery is not particularly prescriptive. It can be used to teach whole classes or small groups, can be delivered by teachers or teaching assistants, and can be offered in addition to or instead of regular English classes. In this evaluation, children typically received 3 – 4 hours of LIT tuition per week for eight months, mostly delivered in small groups.
The programme was devised by the Hackney Learning Trust, who delivered the training sessions for staff and developed a detailed set of lesson plans for them to follow.
The primary outcome was reading ability as assessed by scores on the Access Reading Test (ART).
The LIT programme was tested using a randomized control trial (RCT). 41 schools were recruited, with 22 schools randomly allocated to a treatment group and 19 schools to a control group.