Reading Intervention Waves Programme

At The Lowry Academy we have an impressive reading catch-up programme, where we regularly assess students’ reading ability, identify specific, phonological, fluency and comprehension gaps, and place them on the relevant “intervention wave”.

We use the NGRT to test every student’s reading age and 'Standard Age Score'. Using these results, we target students who are reading below their chronological age with SAS scores of less than 90.

The NGRT results are used to place students on the various intervention waves. The Standard Age Score (SAS) is the most important piece of information derived from NGRT.

The SAS is based on the student’s raw score which has been adjusted for age and placed on a scale that makes a comparison with a nationally representative sample of same age across the UK.

The average score is 100. The SAS is key to benchmarking and tracking progress and is the fairest way to compare the performance of different students within a year group or across year groups. 

Once the NGRT is complete, students are placed onto one of our Reading Intervention Waves where they undergo further diagnostic assessment to ensure that this best meets their individual needs. Following short, sharp and highly effective interventions, students are re-tested every six weeks, and move up through the waves programme accordingly.


  • Lexonik Leap

    Lexonik Leap is a programme that effectively resolves phonic gaps for learners who find literacy particularly challenging and those for whom English is not their first language, rapidly progressing reading, spelling and oracy. The programme is delivered to small intervention groups of four students and is ideal for those with a standardised score of less than 85. Students complete three sessions 20-minute sessions a week with a specially trained Literacy HLTA.

    Based on an initial diagnostic assessment, the programme can be adapted to allow for an individualised learning pathway, meaning the duration of the programme is dictated by the level of need. Lexonik Leap is perfect for older students and those learning English as a foreign language.

    Students will typically spend a period of 6 weeks on the programme after which their needs will be reassessed. Upon completion of the programme, students will graduate to our Lexonik Advance programme.

  • Lexonik Advance

    Lexonik Advance is an intervention programme that aims to rapidly improve our students reading, spelling and vocabulary comprehension with average reading age gains of 27 months in just six weekly one-hour sessions. Lexonik Advance is proven to make immediate, significant and sustainable progress for students of any age. The programme is delivered in small intervention groups by our trained literacy HLTA and is targeted at students with a standardised reading score of 85-100.

    The programme improves student phonological awareness, automaticity, vocabulary and comprehension and leverage metacognition and phased repetition to develop students' fluency and independence in reading. Lexonik Advance trains learners to develop phonological awareness and make links between unknown words using common prefix, stems and suffix definitions.

    Learners improve their phonological awareness by working with common syllable sounds, practising until they reach automaticity to aid reading accuracy and fluency. In parallel to this, learners explore polysyllabic, academic vocabulary and are taught a methodology that supports the morphemic analysis of words, which can be applied independently when they need it most.

    Learners are selected based on our existing internal school assessment processes, then receive a baseline and post assessment to determine progress.

  • Form-Time Reading

    All students involved in our reading interventions take part in our targeted form-time reading. This mirrors our whole school reading programme and is completed in small groups of no more than 8 students with our school literacy co-ordinator, literacy HLTA and other teaching assistants. We read with our students three mornings per week and have selected a range of stimulating texts to spark our students' imaginations; each year group read the same novel, at the same time, to encourage discussion about the novel they are reading. Tutors read to their students, whilst students follow with a copy of the text and their bookmark. During this time, we also practise reciprocal reading strategies which include; activating prior knowledge, predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising.  Research has proven that this enables students to improve their reading skills and begin to think more critically about texts. The sessions take place as long as students remain on our literacy programme.

  • Reading Enrichment

    All students involved in our reading interventions take part in our targeted afterschool reading enrichment. During these sessions students visit the school library and read one-to-one to a member of staff and in a small group. Students are expected to complete two sessions a week. As part of reading enrichment, we also ask that our students read at home at least twice a week and complete a reading journal. This is discussed with students during the intervention session. During these sessions we actively monitor the reading fluency of each student. Reading enrichment sessions take place as long as students remain on our Reading Intervention Waves Programme. Students on wave 3 of our Reading Intervention Waves Programme complete two further sessions of 1-1 reading with a member of teaching staff each week to further support them to develop their reading fluency and skills.

  • Lexia

    What is Lexia?

    Lexia is one of the most rigorously researched reading programmes in the world and will help your child to develop critical reading and language skills through individualised, motivating learning paths via an online platform.  Lexia provides a balanced approach to reading covering six areas: phonological awareness, phonics, structural awareness, automaticity, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Students on waves 3 and 2B complete Lexia as home learning for the duration of their time on the Reading Intervention Waves Programme.

    Lexia begins with an assessment to place students at the appropriate starting point on the programme and the software then tracks pupils’ progress as they work independently, automatically providing extra practice on areas of difficulty where needed.

    Who is it for?

    Lexia is designed for students of all ages who would benefit from additional support with reading. We use the ‘National Group Reading Test’ to test every student’s reading age and 'Standard Age Score'.

  • Impact of Literacy Interventions

    Since starting our literacy interventions earlier this year, we have seen massive gains in the confidence and literacy skills of our students.

    Our Year 7 students began their interventions in September this year and were reassessed in November when they joined interventions in their current format. They were reassessed again this February and have made substantial gains in their SAS (Standard Age Score) average increasing this from 77 to 80. 10% of the Year 7 cohort were able to increase their score above 90 meaning that they were able to graduate from the literacy intervention programme. Year 7 students made an average of 8 months progress in their individual reading ages and 49% of the Year 7 cohort made one year's progress or above in their reading age. We will continue to support these students on their literacy journey and assess them as they attend our reading enrichment sessions after school.

    The gains in Year 8 were even more impressive. This cohort began their interventions in November this year. Since joining the literacy intervention programme Year 8 students increased their SAS scores from an average of 79 to an average of 86. Average reading ages in this cohort increased by 16 months with 60% of students increasing their reading age by one year or above. 26% of the Year 8 cohort increased their SAS above 90 meaning that they were able to graduate from literacy interventions. We will continue to support these students as they attend after-school reading enrichment and as part of wider school literacy initiatives.

    We look forward to continuing this success as we begin with our new cohorts in the spring and introduce literacy interventions to our Year 9 and 10 students.

  • Staff Testimonials

    Miss Furey our librarian and literacy interventions HLTA said the following about our current literacy intervention offering. 

    Our literacy programmes have been extremely beneficial for our Year 7 and 8 students as it has allowed them to build a positive relationship with literacy, whilst being able to grow in confidence. This has massively impacted our students by improving their phonics, reading fluency and accuracy, prefix and suffix knowledge. Resultantly this has significantly improved their overall reading ability.  

    One of the Year 7 students expressed how much he feels that his pronunciation has improved since joining the programme and has had a positive effect not just in the classroom but also in everyday situations such as general conversations with his peers.  

    It is rewarding to see students who were once struggling and found literacy to be a mundane task, to now flourish and enjoy attending the groups.  

    Lexonik Leap has a huge impact on our students. If we had to describe the programme, it would be unbelievable, life changing. In short period of time, we have witnessed the students grow in confidence. They have also developed a can-do attitude. 

  • Parent Testimonials

    In a conversation with staff, a parent of one of our Year 7 cohort commented that she was extremely grateful has noticed a huge improvement in her son's reading and confidence. She noted that he said how fun the sessions are and how much he looked forward to them. Since joining the literacy intervention programme in November, this student has made significant and noticeable gains in both SAS score and reading age. When first retested after 6 weeks of intervention, their reading age had increased by 1 year and 7 months. We are confident that they will continue this success as we continue to support them on their literacy journey. 

  • Student Testimonials & Case Studies

    In a recent pupil voice, a Year 8 graduate from Lexonik Advance commented that the programme provided them with a better understanding of how words are put together and stated how they were able to improve my general vocabulary and spelling. They explained because of the literacy interventions they were confident to tackle new words by using the ones that I already know. When asked how the interventions help them in other lessons, they replied I use what I learn in these sessions to help me with difficult or new vocabulary in other lessons. I feel that I understand more words because of what I have learned in interventions. When asked what they thought about literacy interventions they replied It’s fun and I learn a lot. I can see how much I’m improving and use what I learn in my other lessons. I feel that my reading and understanding has improved since I’ve been doing the sessions. This student joined literacy interventions in November 2022 with a reading age of 10 years and 3 months. They graduated the programme in February 2023 with a reading age of 13 years and 8 months having made progress in their reading age of 3 years and 5 months. We continue to support them with reading enrichment and wider school initiatives. 


    Another year 8 student was able to make similar progress through our interventions programme. He joined the literacy programme in November with a reading age of 5 years and 1 month and received the highest level of intervention that we offer completing both Lexia and Lexonik Leap sessions and taking part in form time reading and reading enrichment. When retested in February, his reading age had increased by 41 months to 8 years and 6 months. Whilst we continue to support this student in the current literacy cohort, we can see clear evidence of progress in terms of both his phonological awareness, decoding abilities and reading fluency and he is able to tackle more complex lexical items and texts with confidence. We look forward to tracking his progress later in the year.  

  • The Results

    We are incredibly proud of the impact that our Reading Intervention Waves Programme is having for our students both on and after they continue their intervention sessions and test students approximately every six weeks to monitor their progress. Our most recent Literacy Cohort were tested in May. This cohort saw amazing improvements on both their reading age and SAS score. The results can be summarised as follows.

    • 56% students increased SAS.
    • 68% students increased Reading Age.
    • Reading ages increased by an average of 22 months in all year groups.
    • 86% students made expected progress or higher.
    • 52 students made enough progress to graduate from interventions. 


    We look forward to seeing the progress made by the current literacy cohort and supporting our recent graduates as they continue their literacy journey.