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 is appropriate for the Australian context because it:

  • Targets the struggling reader
  • Supports the effective use of teacher aides
  • Makes use of all the ‘recommended’ teaching approaches
  • Uses a whole language approach covering reading, writing, spelling and handwriting
  • Complements ‘Reading Recovery', offering support for students in later years
  • Fits school literacy plans
  • Spans Primary and Secondary schools to provide continuity from Grades 2-8
  • Is very time-effective and realistic

Catch Up® Literacy and the Australian National Curriculum literacy continuum (pages 14-30)*.

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.)

Read our stories of success