Choosing an Intervention for pupils with Literacy Difficulties and/or Dyslexia

Supporting pupils’ learning, by adjusting teaching and learning to individual needs, is essential in helping pupils to achieve the best possible outcomes. Schools need to provide opportunities for pupils to grow and develop, and where necessary, provide additional support so they can reach their potential.

The great majority of pupils can succeed through high quality first teaching. Aspects of effective high quality literacy provision at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 include high-quality systematic phonics teaching, use of the ‘simple view of reading’ and the tracking of progress. The simple view of reading (Rose 2006) with the two interacting dimensions, word recognition and language comprehension, is seen as essential to pupils becoming skilled readers.

For some pupils, high quality universal teaching is insufficient to enable them to make good progress in literacy and they will require an intervention. We know that pupils who are identified by the school as having literacy difficulties need more than normal classroom teaching (Enters & Brooks 2005). These pupils may benefit from a time-limited small group targeted intervention programme to help them ‘catch up’ with their peers and reach age-related norms. The Assess, Plan, Do and Review model is crucial in judging which pupils will benefit from a targeted intervention and those who need a more intensive and individualised approach, usually delivered and/or overseen by a specialist teacher. 

These specialist interventions are highly structured programmes delivered on a regular basis and targeted at the needs of the pupil.

The ‘layered approach’ to intervention enables schools to plan their provision using pupil progress data and the Assess, Plan, Do and Review model to ensure additional provision at targeted and specialist levels is matched to the needs of their pupils.

Primarily, the purpose of an intervention is to accelerate progress and prevent the pupil falling behind their peers. Additionally, pupils who have their learning needs addressed are less likely to develop emotional and behavioural issues and disengage from learning. It is vital that schools deliver interventions that make a real impact on pupil progress and have a sound evidence base.

Effective interventions are those that can accelerate progress. Results from some interventions indicate pupils can double their rate of progress (Brooks 2007). There is general acknowledgement that early intervention is preferable as a means of reducing the gap between the pupil and their peer group, maintaining self-esteem and ensuring the pupil remains a confident and engaged learner. Links need to be made between an intervention programme and classroom practice so the pupil can apply their learning and ensure gains are maintained.

Guidance is provided to support schools at primary and secondary level to identify appropriate interventions for their pupils with literacy difficulties and to assist in publishing information to share with parents/carers. 


What article would you like to read?

1. Choosing an Intervention for pupils with Literacy Difficulties and/or Dyslexia

2. Guidance for schools

3. Children with Persistent Literacy Difficulties

4. Specialist Advice and Support

5. Use of the Term ‘Dyslexia’

6. Role of the Specialist Teacher

7. Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties (2009)

8. SEN Provision


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