What is Catch Up® Literacy?

Catch Up Literacy
Catch Up® Literacy is a structured one-to-one intervention for learners who find reading difficult. It enables struggling readers to achieve more than double the progress of typically developing readers.

Catch Up® Literacy uses a book-based approach to support learners in their reading of a book so they activate both dimensions of reading – word recognition processes (including phonics) and language comprehension processes.

It is suitable for all struggling readers whose Reading Age is significantly below their Chronological Age and is designed for use with struggling readers aged 6-14, rather than beginner readers.

Find out more about how the interventions work and our training and support packages. Read more about Catch Up® Literacy evidence and success below.

Catch Up® Literacy - the evidence

Catch Up® Literacy helps struggling learners achieve more than double the progress of typically developing learners

Learners (aged 6 - 14) who received Catch Up® Literacy support for an average of 7 months achieved an average Reading Age gain of about 19 months. The Reading Age ratio gain* was 2.74 and the Reading Age gain per total hour of intervention was 2.39 months. (Data for 3,134 learners from 27 local authorities, 2010. As reported in 'Early intervention to prevent long-term literacy difficulties: the case of Catch Up® Literacy'.)

Learners in Years 7 - 10 who received Catch Up® Literacy support for an average period of 8.3 months made average Reading Age gains of 16.7 months - a mean ratio gain of 2.01. (As reported in 'Catch Up® in Secondary Schools'.)

* A ratio gain of 2 or more is considered 'good impact' (Brooks, 2004)

Catch Up® Literacy is twice as effective as other individual literacy support

Learners who received Catch Up® Literacy support made double the Reading Age gain of a control group of children who received individual literacy support for the same amount of time. Data for 85 learners from the City of Nottingham local authority, 2010.

The impact of Catch Up® Literacy is long lasting

92% of children who received Catch Up® Literacy support at age seven continue to be able to participate fully in the curriculum, along with their peers, at age fourteen. Data for 247 children from two local authorities, 2003 and 2010.

Catch Up® Literacy has impact beyond reading

After receiving Catch Up® Literacy, learners:

  • became more self-confident and motivated in class
  • felt more confident to write independently
  • displayed a much improved attitude towards English
  • displayed a much improved attitude to other subjects in the curriculum

(Interviews, online attitude test and questionnaires giving information about 505 learners, received from 48 secondary schools across 21 local authorities, 2007.)

Catch Up® Literacy - success stories

Elise, aged 12

Elise started Catch Up® Literacy with a gap of more than four years between her Chronological Age and Reading Age. Elise was a quiet hesitant student, lacking in confidence in her abilities. She rarely read at home and her comprehension was weak. She was part of a spelling workshop when she was 11 but little or no progress was made.

Elise progressed rapidly through the Catch Up® levels. By mid-point she was able to read 100% and spell 96% of all 240 words of the Catch Up® sight word assessment. She now reads a variety of books at home and has gained tremendously in self-confidence.

TIME ON INTERVENTION: 9 months
READING AGE GAIN: 36 months

Judge, aged 9

Judge started Catch Up® Literacy with a gap of almost two years between his Chronological Age and Reading Age. His teachers reported that he tried hard but his lack of confidence was holding him back.

After only 4 months of Catch Up® Literacy, Judge made 16 months progress in his Reading Age. He is also now taking a more active role in class activities.

TIME ON INTERVENTION: 4 months
READING AGE GAIN: 16 months

Brandon, aged 6

Brandon started Catch Up® Literacy with a gap of 14 months between his Chronological Age and Reading Age. He didn’t like reading at school or taking books home.

After 9 months of Catch Up® Literacy, Brandon made 30 months progress in his Reading Age. He now looks forward to reading.

TIME ON INTERVENTION: 9 months
READING AGE GAIN: 30 months


Read more stories of success from our Catch Up® Excellence Award winners