ReadingWise Improves Literacy and Learning Outcomes in Primary Schools

Getting the best literacy and reading learning outcomes at primary schools is a crucial part of delivering the education young children need. ReadingWise is an online evidence-based reading and literacy intervention programme. Our programmes support KS1 and KS2 pupils in England and Wales and P1 to P7 in Scotland.

If children they leave primary school behind their peers in their ability to read then they will struggle at secondary school without an intervention, and will not do well in any curriculum area.

Numerous studies and reports from schools show that at least 20% of pupils leave primary school and arrive at secondary schools behind their peers when it comes to reading.

Without effective support, those 20% (or more, in some cases) of will struggle all through school, and go onto to struggle in numerous ways as adults. A National Literacy Trust report states that: “1 in 6 (16.4%) adults in England are estimated to have very low literacy.”


In this article, we cover the challenges that primary schools face when teaching literacy, reading, and English, and how teachers, TAs, SENDcos, and literacy leads can implement an evidence-based online literacy intervention programme to tackle them.

What challenges do primary schools face when teaching literacy, reading, and English?

Every primary school has its own challenges. In many ways, the catchment area a school is in can have a profound impact on the difficulties teachers are tackling every day. Schools in socio-economically deprived and struggling areas will face more challenges than schools in more affluent areas.

As a result, some primary schools will have more literacy and reading challenges than others. This is even more of an issue for primary schools when there’s a higher percentage of children with special needs (SEND), from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who speak English as another language (EAL).

When children join a primary school in Reception or Year 1, these challenges will manifest with them having lower reading and literacy abilities than expected for their age. If children struggle with reading, this will affect them far beyond their abilities in Phonics and English.

In most cases, teachers, TAs, and SENDcos will struggle to help improve pupils' literacy and reading attainment and outcomes without a targeted literacy intervention programme. That’s where ReadingWise plays a pivotal role.

“We have seen it as being a highly effective intervention that offers personalised learning to large numbers of children and has a measurable impact in a short amount of time. It’s also great value for money and we receive excellent training and support.” Jenny Taylor, Headteacher, Horfield C of E Primary School, Bristol.

Would you like more depth on Horfield C of E Primary's experience? Read the case study.

Support struggling readers with ReadingWise in your primary school

Want to fund ReadingWise using the Pupil Premium? Not a problem, here’s how you can apply for funding with our help.

Why primary schools need a literacy intervention programme?

In primary schools where pupils are struggling with literacy and reading, a targeted literacy intervention can make a huge difference.

ReadingWise is a complete, evidence-based online literacy intervention solution for primary schools, whether your school is LA-funded, an academy, or part of a multi-academy trust (MAT). Since we launched, over 300,000 pupils across the UK have completed ReadingWise programmes to improve their reading.

Robust government-funded evidence demonstrates that ReadingWise produces a reading age increase of over 9 months in 1 term.

Here are 10 reasons why primary schools need a literacy intervention programme:

  1. Intervening early produces better outcomes. If a teacher can see that a child is struggling with reading in reception, and behind where they should be, then a literacy intervention earlier will make a big difference throughout primary and into secondary school.
  2. ReadingWise literacy intervention programmes can be tailored to address specific requirements, including for pupils with SEND and EAL needs.
  3. Utilising data and assessment results, the programme can identify students who require additional support and provide targeted literacy interventions.
  4. Implementing a standardised literacy programme can ensure consistency in teaching practices across every age group.
  5. ReadingWise solves the problem for busy primary school teachers: “Where do I start?”; “How do I create resources to improve literacy?” Our programme takes care of everything.
  6. An online literacy intervention programme can help teachers support parents and guardians too, so that even if a responsible adult can’t effectively support a child, this programme can help.
  7. Pupils who leave school with higher English grades and greater levels of reading fluency earn more. Adults with lower levels of literacy earn 7.1% less than those with a better understanding of reading.
  8. Literacy interventions change lives. In schools (primary and secondary), 20% of children fail to achieve adequate literacy levels before leaving school. This equates to “1 in 6 (16.4%) adults in England are estimated to have very low literacy” (OECD, 2016).
  9. Consequences of this range anywhere from unemployment to falling into criminal activity. According to the World Literacy Foundation, a 2018 study found that “illiteracy is estimated to cost the UK economy approximately £80 billion [per year].”
  10. Tragically, there’s a clear correlation between illiteracy, the ability to find work, and crime. A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) report in 2022 found that “57% of adults in prison in the UK have a reading level below that of an average 11-year-old.”
Support struggling readers with ReadingWise in your primary school

How to implement ReadingWise in a primary school

ReadingWise is the ideal solution for primary schools. Our programmes support KS1 and KS2 pupils in England and Wales ⏤ whether your school is an academy, Local Authority-maintained, free school, voluntary aided or controlled, or a special needs school ⏤ and P1 - P7 pupils in Scotland.

There are three steps every secondary school needs to take to implement ReadingWise effectively:

  1. Tailored testing to align the ReadingWise Modules with pupils' needs.

One of the most effective ways to assess which ReadingWise modules children in your primary school need is with standardised reading (NGRT) assessments. Teachers, TAs, or SENDcos can use these as a pre-implementation benchmark. 

This careful matching of literacy programmes to the needs of pupils is another feature of ReadingWise that other online literacy programmes don’t offer. Based on the results, students can be placed in one of four categories before a ReadingWise roll-out: 

With the establishment of these cohorts, timetabling can be designed to ensure children’s needs are met in a methodical, measurable way. Using this data, what pupils’ need to be taught can be matched and calibrated to the four core ReadingWise modules: Zip, Vocab, Comprehension, and Decoding.

  1. Methodical training of teaching and other staff who will be using the programme

Staff at every level, including teachers, TAs, literacy leads, and SEND specialists, are then trained in Zip, Vocab, Comprehension, and Decoding.

Don’t worry though, training doesn’t take days or weeks. It doesn’t even have to be done on-site. All it takes is 2 hours of online training. 

  1. Integration with other school software/systems to make admin easier

The majority of schools use a MiS (Management Information System) for admin and other tasks. We save you time, to ensure it’s connected to the ReadingWise system. This will save many hours of admin work for teaching staff, ensuring they could focus on teaching and supporting students.

Reporting tools within the ReadingWise programme allowed the literacy leads to quickly and efficiently review engagement, impact, and student progress. 

Want to fund ReadingWise using the Pupil Premium? Not a problem, here’s how you can apply for funding with our help

Find out more about our: 

ReadingWise Modules

ReadingWise Pricing

Case Studies and Testimonials

Boost your school's literacy results: Arrange your 20-minute demo at a time to suit you. 

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