Targeting support: Choosing and implementing interventions for children with significant literacy difficulties

Targeting support: Choosing and implementing interventions for children with significant literacy difficulties

What the resource is:
This resource is a management guidance document which will help schools undertake a review into whether the provision that they make for children with literacy difficulties is working well, and whether that provision enables children receiving help to make, on average, at least twice the rate of progress that the majority of children make over the same period of time in order to narrow the gap between them and their peers.


The aims of the resource:
Specifically, the publication aims to support schools in:

  • taking an informed and independent view of the many possible literacy interventions which are available;
  • evaluating the outcomes of their current SEN provision and the value for money it provides;
  • making decisions about how best to target available funding in future;
  • enhancing the life chances of some of their most vulnerable children.


Key findings or focus:
This document describes the three ‘waves' of intervention of effective literacy provision under the National Literacy Strategy, as well as outlining the possible reasons for significant literacy difficulties experienced by children and the importance of early intervention and wave 3 provision.
The reader is provided with an overview of the results of government research on the impact of different types of Wave 3 intervention in the areas of reading, spelling and writing.  A description of each of these interventions together with details of suggested age groups and contact details for further information is provided, so that practitioners can further research those interventions most appropriate for their purpose.
Curriculum leaders, SENCOs and Headteachers are encouraged to use quantitative and qualitative self evaluation measures to assess the effectiveness of their provision and the issue of funding is briefly discussed.


Two case studies provide concrete examples of interventions used in a primary and junior school where success had been achieved and significant improvements witnessed in reading, writing, value added measures as well as overall behaviour.


Key messages from the research are that if children are not achieving on average at least twice the normal rate of progress through existing Wave 3 provision, then evaluation of Wave 3 provision may be necessary.  In addition, the length of interventions is a significant factor.  Long interventions do not necessarily product proportionally greater benefits.


The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
This is a document produced by the Department for Education and Skills supported by independent research for the National Literacy Strategy.


The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
ITE tutors/mentors can encourage ITE students to identify literacy difficulties early through reflective practice and self-evaluation.  Students can be encouraged to be aware of the three waves of intervention and know their strengths and weaknesses in relation to groups of learners as well as the manpower resources required to deliver each of the interventions.

The relevance to ITE students:
ITE students should be aware that children develop at rates and a certain amount of variance amongst learners is expected.  However, when significant delays are evident in a curriculum area, it's important to know how to intervene and have a understanding of ‘what works best'.


Reviewed by:
Carolyn Blackburn

Related Resources

The following might be useful to read in conjunction with this resource:


What works for children with literacy difficulties (DfES research report 380)

The literacy area of the Primary Framework contains a range of resources and materials to support the development, planning and teaching of all aspects of literacy in primary schools and includes guidance on assessment and pupil progress.

Authors :

Department for Education and Skills (DfES)

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Department for Education and Skills (DfES)

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