Reciprocal Reading for struggling readers: An exemplar of evidence implementation in schools

Maria Cockerill*, Joanne O'Keeffe, Allen Thurston, Andy Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

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There continue to be challenges of transfer from research evidence to practice in education. This paper reports on the implementation of a well‐evidenced Reciprocal Reading approach in 35 schools across a high poverty region in England, working cooperatively at transition between primary and secondary. The purpose of the research reported here was not to test children to establish whether Reciprocal Reading improves student outcomes, as randomised controlled trial evidence from studies in England has already established the positive impact of this approach in primary and secondary schools. Instead, a process evaluation was undertaken using naturally occurring data and staff survey data, to understand whether it is possible to implement this approach across a region with high fidelity. The theory of change exemplified in previous randomised controlled trial evaluations was used to interrogate the data in respect of teacher behaviours and attitudes, and student behaviours as reported by school staff during implementation. Findings suggest high levels of adherence to programme design and resources by schools was present across the sample during implementation, together with staff competence and positive relational factors during programme delivery. These findings are in line with health‐based research where high fidelity of implementation is used as an indicator of transfer to practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3332
Number of pages22
JournalReview of Education
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The funding for this study was provided by a grant from the Department for Education (Opportunity North East transition programme) to The Legacy Learning Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Review of Education published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association.


  • fidelity of implementation
  • knowledge transfer
  • using evidence in schools to improve reading outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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