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Evaluation of Every Child a Reader

Published: May 2011


This independent study evaluated the implementation, impact and value-for-money of the Every Child a Reader (ECaR) programme between 2005 and 2009.

What is the Every Child a Reader programme?

The ECaR programme is a three stage approach to supporting children with reading at Key Stage 1. These waves are:

  • first, ‘quality first teaching’ aimed at all children through class-based teaching
  • second, small group interventions aimed at children who can be expected to catch up with their peers with some additional support
  • and third, ‘Reading Recovery’ – intensive reading support in the form of a one-to-one programme for children who have been identified as having specific support needs.


Impact on children

Our evidence suggests that the ECaR programme and Reading Recovery improved children’s reading at Key Stage 1. It found that ECaR had an overall positive impact on school-level reading and writing attainment.

In particular Reading Recovery had:

  • a positive impact on reading, reading-related attitudes and behaviours
  • wider impacts on pupils, such as their ability to initiate ideas and activities

Implementation and delivery in schools

The findings pointed to the following factors, among others, influencing implementation and delivery of the programme:

  • the role of Reading Recovery Teachers in schools
  • the commitment of senior management to ECaR facilitating the set-up
  • the use of a dedicated space, with adequate resources and in a supportive school infrastructure
  • the ability to engage parents


The evaluation attempted to quantify the value-for-money of the programme. It predicted that the programme could lead to substantial benefits for children in later life, such as greater earnings and better health.


The mixed methods used to assess ECaR included local authority and school opinion surveys, qualitative case studies and impact analysis, as well as quantitative methods to analyse the value-for-money of the programme.

Read the report