The Reading Effective Practice Project was one of a suite of five research projects that have the common aim of investigating the effective teaching of language, literacy, numeracy and ICT to adults. The design of these projects was adapted from a US study of the effective teaching of literacy and English language to ESOL adults (Condelli et al, 2003).
The projects were carried out in two phases, in 2003/04 and 2004/05. The targets for each study across the two years were to recruit and gather background data on 250 learners, assess their attainment and attitudes at two points during the year, observe the strategies that their teachers used, and correlate those strategies with changes in the learners’ attainment and attitudes.
This was the largest study in Britain to date of the strategies used to teach reading in adult literacy classes (some classes were integrated – with ICT and financial literacy for example), and the first attempt to correlate that evidence with measures of change in learners’ reading attainment and attitudes to literacy. We observed and recorded (in writing) over 472 hours of teaching and learning. Our sample of learners is broadly representative of the national distribution, and the data gathered on 454 learners in 59 classes represents a wealth of information: about teaching and learning, effective and promising practices, and also areas where it is a priority for teachers and teacher trainers to engage in further training and development.