Project focus

    The Herts for Learning Reception Early Reading Project incorporates the following strategies to improve the trajectory of Reception pupils towards attaining  ELG reading and ARE in phonics.

    • diagnostic assessment
    • book metalanguage
    • text-matching
    • application of phonics
    • reading fluency development
    • self-regulation development
    • environment development
    • adult modelling

    The project has so far been delivered with schools in Hertfordshire and is now expanding across Hertfordshire and neighbouring counties.

    Participate in this project

    If you would like to participate in this project, complete the expression of interest to be contacted about future launch dates.

    If you would like to participate in this project, complete the expression of interest to be contacted about future launch dates.

    We are also offering bespoke tailored consultancy, using elements of the unique teaching strategies woven into the project, for those schools unable to participate in the full project. To find out more, email

    Impact and outcomes from the twelve-week project

    Data averages show that:

    • participating schools' 'Early Learning Goal' (ELG) data for reading has improved by on average 4 ppts. The largest increase seen is a huge +22 ppts, in a school with a high proportion of EAL, disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils.
    • children make double the usual rate of progress in terms of Print Concepts and Alphabetic Knowledge, both during and after the project;
    • children make double the expected progress in their reading;
    • largest increase seen, across all participating children, has been within Alphabetic Knowledge, with a typical 60% increase by the end of Reception (this looks at recognition of upper and lower case letters for whole alphabet);
    • largest increase seen, for individual children, was 94% increase in Alphabetic Knowledge for one and 87% in Print Concepts for another

    Considering project focus children are often those who were unable to write their own name and do emergent writing on exit from Nursery, this is exciting progress in literacy for these at-risk learners.

    Source: Data from across the three 2018-19 rounds of the Herts for Learning Reception Early Reading Project (ERP)

    Pupils typically demonstrated the following improvements in their reading behaviour:

    • showing better self-image as readers, because they have the print concepts and 1:1 correspondence
    • choosing to read more in the reading area and in ChIL
    • showing improved understanding of meta-language (eg word, letter)
    • talking more about their reading, including independently volunteering their views
    • reading independently more widely and often
    • showing more signs of early reading fluency as they are freed up to decode, due to having more secure print concept knowledge
    • showing increased print awareness and alphabetic knowledge

    Find out more about the project below.

    Project delivery

    Participants will receive the 12-week project CPD through:

    • half day training session 1 (school lead and Reception teacher)
    • tailored in-school consultancy half-day (school lead and Reception teacher)
    • midpoint cluster (project Reception teachers only)
    • half day training session 2 (school lead and Reception teacher)

    School participation / commitments:

    Each school is asked to nominate a Reception teacher and a school-based project lead. The project lead may be a deputy Headteacher, or English subject leader / SENCo where they are a member of senior leadership team. The project lead will be responsible for monitoring changes and following through key actions.

    The project teacher will receive tailored consultancy in school to support them in making adjustments to teaching and provision based on the needs analysis. Teachers will need some release time to complete the beginning and end diagnostic assessments, for which teachers and leads receive full training on the initial half-day.

    Teachers are asked to work with a group of six pupils for two group reading sessions per week for the 12 week period. These pupils are deemed to be not yet on track to attain ELG reading, at the start of the intervention period.

    Each school is allocated a project adviser. The adviser will be on hand throughout the project period to answer queries and support the school as needed. The adviser will also support schools with analysing their project data.

    Early reading project beeBlogs to read

    Getting forensic with phonics: Ofsted's focus on the early stages of reading

    Early Reading Project - findings from the pilot

    Getting meta on early reading skills: reflections on the HfL Early Reading Project Pilot (ERPP)

    Do you sound good to listen to? (or ‘Fluency: reading’s best-kept secret weapon’)

    If print be the food of love, read on!

    Modelling early literacy

    Let’s all blend together, robot arms ready...


    KS1 guided reading booklet


    Project contact

    Ruth Goodman
    Primary Teaching and Learning Adviser - English
    Tel: 01438 845111 (option 2)

    Contact details

    Express an interest