A realistic evaluation of the introduction of the Simple View of Reading in primary schools.

  • Susan Cornwell

Student thesis: Phd


There are continuing concerns regarding literacy standards within education with these concerns having resulted in many literacy initiatives being introduced over the past 5 years. Much research has focussed on improving our understanding of literacy, our ability to identify literacy needs and our ability to subsequently address these needs. As a result of an independent review into the early teaching of reading the Government have promoted the use of the 'Simple View of Reading' (SVOR) in the Primary Framework for Literacy (DCSF, 2007c). The study reported in this thesis considers whether the Simple View of Reading is perceived by teachers as providing a useful framework for the identification of literacy learning needs. In addition, it also aims to contribute to our understanding of teacher development, identifying for whom, and in what circumstances, the introduction of the SVOR results in a change in practice. Teachers working within five primary schools participated in this study. Data was collected through questionnaires and a small number of follow up interviews. It is important to note that these findings are likely to have been influenced by certain changes in context during the study, for example the delegation of funding to schools, a reduction in central support services and the introduction of the Primary Framework for Literacy. Questionnaire data indicates that, on the whole, teachers perceived the SVOR as easy to use, as providing useful information and as providing an easy visual reference. Results also indicate reported increases in teacher understanding of, and use of, the SVOR, coupled with increased confidence relating to the identification of literacy learning needs. These differences were all statistically significant. Key findings from the interviews suggest that teachers who perceived the SVOR to be useful and helpful to them on a personal level, made links between the SVOR and their existing practice and were more concerned with improving outcomes for children rather than meeting their own personal needs were more likely to incorporate the SVOR into their practice. This study has implications for promoting the SVOR as a framework for identifying literacy needs, future teacher development and the use of realist research approaches within Educational Psychology.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Farrell (Supervisor)


  • Realistic Evaluation
  • Simple View of Reading

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