Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
This project aims to test on a national scale the novel classroom reading intervention called the Integrated Group Reading (IGR) programme for children that are experiencing problems with learning to read. Despite continued efforts to ensure that all children benefit from Key Stage 1 (KS1) teaching, 7-18% of pupils in English primary schools are still slow to start reading, or cannot read at all on entry to Key Stage 2 (KS2). IGR is a novel programme that is combined with existing Guided Reading teaching for those children requiring a more focused approach. IGR integrates several discrete professional and research-based aspects of early literacy education, highlighting the connection between the teaching of phonics-for-reading and the importance for children of story and meaning-making. It also provides teachers with carefully designed and systematic materials (short books and accompanying story-specific games) to underpin this. At the level of children’s learning, the methodology is fun, simple and thorough, with lively, story-focused teacher-led small group work combining with Teaching Assistant one-to-one consolidation in-between twice-weekly lessons. This study will examine whether children’s reading accuracy, comprehension and reading attitudes will be improved by IGR compared to usual teaching approaches, how the programme is taught in practice, and teachers’ experience of the approach.
Who can participate?
Year 2 and 3 children identified as being the slowest to read compared to their classroom peers, and their teachers.
What does the study involve?
Schools that have enrolled to take part are randomly allocated to teach the IGR programme (intervention group) or not (the control group). Participating teachers attend a one-day introductory training and will thereafter be supported by their local Literacy Advisers and the Programme team. Children is classes run by the intervention schools are taught using the IGR programme for 30-35 minutes twice a week for a period of 2.5 school terms. They also participate in daily reading, word memory and phonic game-playing in between lessons. Children in classes run by control schools continue to have their usual lessons. Each child’s reading accuracy, comprehension and attitude towards reading is then assessed individually and as a group.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Not provided at time of registration
Where is the study run from?
40 schools in 4 separate areas of the country.
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
June 2015 to August 2017
Who is funding the study?
Nuffield Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Professor Brahm Norwich
An innovative classroom reading intervention for Year 2 and 3 pupils who are struggling to learn to read: evaluating the Integrated Group Reading (IGR) programme
The IGR teaching method for year 2 and 3 children who most struggle with reading will result in improved reading outcomes (reading accuracy, comprehension and attitudes) compared to the progress of similar children experiencing the usual approaches to teaching reading.
Graduate School of Education Ethics Committee - University of Exeter, 08/07/2015, ref: STF/14/15/11
Cluster randomised controlled trial and process evaluation
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet.
Early stages of literacy difficulties
Schools are randomly allocated to control or intervention groups.
1. The control classes will have the 4 pupils in need of targeted teaching identified but they will have typical teaching during the phase 1. What this typical teaching will involve will be monitored during the two and a half terms of the IGR intervention.
2. The IGR intervention is designed for use with groups of 4 children identified in Years 2 and 3 as the most struggling in learning to read. It is taught for 30-35 minutes twice a week by the class teacher over a period of 2.5 school terms, with daily follow-up individual reading and word memory or phonic game-playing in between lessons. The programme involves a set of original materials developed with children to meet the very specific needs of this group. The core IGR programme has been designed to take the children in a systematic and language-rich way through the orthographic progression of written language by ease of acquisition with reference at the same time to aspects of early spoken and literary language experience known to be especially important for children still needing to develop strong phonological representations as a basis for literacy acquisition and the learning of reading. A key feature of the programme, therefore, is that every book is the hub of a learning cycle. Every lesson takes the children in a methodical and predictable way through this cycle, from preparation/familiarisation to reading to remembering/consolidation, so that a fundamental characteristic of the approach is learning-in-depth in an enjoyable way.
Primary outcome measure
The York Assessment of Reading Comprehension (YARC passage readying) will be administered in addition to the 20 statement Chapman Reading Self Concept Scale (RSCS) to pupils identified in the intervention and control classes. The YARC word reading test will be used for some children unable to do the YARC passage test. . All these measures meet high standards of design and validation and are fit for the aims of this study.
The tests will be administered in September 2015, June 2016 and April 2017.
Secondary outcome measures
A whole class group reading assessment, the Hodder Group Reading test, will be used with all the intervention and control classes at the same time as the individual assessment. This is to monitor any changes in reading for others in the class not receiving the IGR programme directly.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
Between 3-5 (on average 4) children will be identified as the most reading delayed in the Year 2 and 3 classes in the 40 IGR intervention and control schools. Teachers will identify these pupils by using a Reading Rating form (5 point scale going from well below to well above expected level and identify specific literacy problems from a list.
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
Those children not identified by the Reading Rating Form.
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter
St Lukes Campus Heavitree Road
28 Bedford Square
+44 20 7631 0566
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Based on this mixed methodology evaluation we expect positive outcomes for the children and professional development for the class teachers participating in the project. We expect that the schools will benefit from participation in this project as will the Local Authority literacy consultants, who will also be involved in the planning and delivery of the wider local and national communication about the programme. We see the outcomes and the IGR programme to be relevant to Year 2 and 3 teachers nationally and for this reason to interest to head teachers, teacher educators and pre-service teachers. In addition the project outcomes and materials will interest relevant professional associations, local authorities, school partnerships and literacy consultancies/consultants. Given the above review of international literature the outcomes will have international significance too.
We will communicate with these groups through various means: (i.) a national email network of teachers and schools who participated in the project which will be set up after the final project conference and by (ii.) a project website which can be used to disseminate information about the IGR programme, its evaluation and teachers’ experiences of using it; (iii.) the Programme advisory group which will connect the project team with the local advisers. This group will be responsible for the detailed planning of the dissemination and communication approaches; (iv.) Accessible and varied brief research summaries for different professional and policy-maker groups; (v.) Articles in professional journals and papers at professional conferences; vi. Academic papers written for journals and academic conferences and vii.Invited seminars / meetings for Government agency and national policy-makers.
The Project manager (Jan Stebbing) and Principal Investigator (Brahm Norwich) are members of varied professional, policy and academic networks in a complementary way. Anita Wood is involved in various teacher education networks. The intervention arm team and the four local authority advisers, with their respective advisory and professional networks, have the capabilities and opportunities to communicate about the project outcomes and the IGR programme methods and materials. The members of this group span professional, advisory, teacher educator, policy and academic fields, all necessary to enable the project to be communicated effectively to relevant audiences and potential users.
2018 results in online report https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/32881/IGR%20report%20FINAL%20edited%20%20May%2018.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Stored in repository
Basic results (scientific)