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Schools wanted for new UK trial seeking to improve reading attainment through peer support

A new programme to improve pupil attainment in reading through support from their peers is being trialled in the East Midlands by researchers at Nottingham Trent University.

Five children sitting reading books
The programme involves pupils reading together to improve their comprehension and fluency

Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) is used extensively in the USA to support reading development and is now being established in the UK. 它的目标是提高学生的阅读理解能力, oral reading fluency and overall reading attainment.

Researchers are looking to recruit 120 schools in the region for the 20-week programme, which will see Year 5 pupils, age 9-10, paired up to take part in activities each week. These will include partner reading, summarising the story and the main points of each paragraph and predicting what happens next.

PALS-UK is being funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Department for Education (DfE) and is being delivered by Dr Emma Vardy, senior lecturer in Developmental Psychology at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Sciences, along with Dr Helen Breadmore from the University of Birmingham. It will be independently evaluated by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dr Vardy said: “We’re looking for schools to help us build an evidence base of whether PALS is as beneficial in the UK as it is in the USA and elsewhere in the world. For the pupils who take part, it can improve not only their reading comprehension and oral reading fluency but also build their confidence in reading aloud. There are also social benefits through improving peer relationships.”

Schools taking part receive a day of initial training and additional top-up training for Year 5 teachers. Pupils also receive support from their classroom teacher in the first month to learn how to undertake the activities and work with their peers.

Schools can find out more about the trial by visiting the EEF website or by contacting

  • Notes for editors

    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.

    NTU was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards). It was the University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).

    NTU is one of the UK’s largest universities, with over 33,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 4,000 and an NTU community representing around 160 countries.

    In the past 15 years, NTU has invested £450 million in tools, technology and facilities.

    NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2019 UCAS UG acceptance data) It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    75% of NTU students go on to graduate-level employment or graduate-entry education / training within fifteen months of graduating (Guardian University Guide 2021).

    NTU is 4th globally (and 3rd in the UK) for sustainability in the 2021 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).

Published on 24 February 2022
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Social Sciences