Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
REACH Primary is a programme to support struggling readers. It is delivered by trained Teaching Assistants to individually targeted pupils over a period of 20 weeks during the 2019/20 school year. The project is being run by a team from the University of Leeds, and evaluated by the Sheffield Institute of Education.
Who can participate?
Pupils and Teaching Assistants in schools in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber and Lincolnshire regions of England.
What does the study involve?
Schools were required to identify ten year-3 pupils that are working below the expected standard in reading, and nominate two teaching assistants to deliver the one-to-one support (if randomised into the intervention group). Schools will then be randomly allocated to either receive REACH Primary or to act as a ‘Business as Usual’ control school.
The evaluation will measure the impact of the REACH Primary programme on reading through a standardised test and secondary measures of decoding and language comprehension. The intervention is delivered over twenty weeks through 3 x 30 minute sessions of individual Teaching Assistant support per week for each participating pupil for a 20-week period. Two sessions per week will focus on word recognition/ decoding skills and reading aloud fluently and accurately. The third session targets language comprehension skills. Control schools operate on a business as usual basis.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participating pupils in the intervention group will receive a structured programme of individual support, delivered by Teaching Assistants in school and during school hours, which has the potential to improve their progress in reading. Pupils in control schools will continue with whatever support is provided by their school on a business as usual basis. The support sessions will be delivered by Teaching Assistants employed by the school, so pupils will not be in contact with unknown adults. Risks to pupils therefore appear to be negligible.
Where is the study run from?
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
March 2019 to December 2020
Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation
Who is the main contact?
Dr Martin Culliney
Reading with comprehension (REACH) primary, a two-arm cluster randomised trial of a targeted reading support intervention for pupils aged eight
The REACH Primary targeted reading support intervention is associated with better reading attainment among participating pupils when compared with a business-as-usual control condition
Approved 11/02/2019, Sheffield Hallam University Ethical Review Committee (SSH-ResearchEthics@shu.ac.uk) ref: ER12082254
Multisite cluster randomised trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Multisite CRT with three levels (school, TA and pupil). Randomisation took place at school level. A total of 79 schools were randomised within five geographical hub areas. 40 were allocated to the intervention and 39 to the control condition. Intervention schools nominate two Teaching Assistants for CPD, which includes three days of training and remote support during the study period.
The intervention is delivered over twenty weeks through 3 x 30 minute sessions of individual Teaching Assistant support per week for each participating pupil for a 20-week period. Two sessions per week will focus on word recognition/ decoding skills and reading aloud fluently and accurately. The third session targets language comprehension skills. Control schools operate on a business as usual basis.
Randomisation was stratified to ensure balance between the intervention and control groups on two school-level controls; geographical hub area and KS1 reading score. The first stratifying variable was geographical region, the five categories are 1) Yorkshire and Humber (North) 2) Yorkshire and Humber (South) 3) North East 4) Lincolnshire and 5) Greater Manchester.
Primary outcome measure
Reading comprehension measured using the GL New Group Reading Test (NGRT), a well-established, multiple-choice test for pupils aged 6 - 16. The digital adaptive version of this test will be used. Baseline tests taken during May 2019 (KS1 Reading). Outcome tests conducted as the pupils are toward the end of Y3 (May-July 2020).
Secondary outcome measures
Tests conducted as the pupils are toward the end of Y3 (May-July 2020):
1. Word recognition/decoding measured using the GL Diagnostic Test of Word Reading Processes (DTWRP).
This has three sets of items that pupils read aloud, 1) 30 exception words which provide a measure of lexical-semantic processes 2) 30 non-words which provide a measure of phonological recoding processes 3) 30 regular words which can be read by either process.
2. Language comprehension measured using the Understanding Spoken Paragraphs subscale of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF -5). Pupils listen to short spoken passages, and after each passage orally respond to a series of comprehension questions.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Schools in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber and Lincolnshire regions of England.
Target number of participants
780 pupils across 79 schools recruited to the trial
Total final enrolment
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Schools outside of travelling distance of the training locations
2. Pupils with no KS1 baseline data
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Sheffield Hallam University
10101 Arundel Building
Education Endowment Foundation
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Trusts, charities, foundations (both public and private)
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Project report due for publication on EEF website early 2021.
IPD sharing statement:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study will be stored in a non-publically available repository. After the project ends, data will be transferred to the EEF data archive, which is only accessible by researchers commissioned by EEF to conduct meta-analysis of EEF data. Participants are informed of archiving requirements at the start of the evaluation.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Stored in repository
Basic results (scientific)