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Case studies

Here is just a small selection of the stories we have collected from those who have benefitted from using the Reading Revival method. The scheme can be used from around the age of three, but we get most of our feedback from the parents of children who were failing to learn to read at school, and these are some of the most heartwarming stories too.


Elliott, age 6

Elliott had just started to learn to read at school and had no reading difficulties, but his mum just wanted to give him a great start to reading. He enthusiastically read through the reading toolkit book by book, and was so pleased to do it that by the last book in the toolkit,(book 12) he was reading easily and without his mum’s help, even the unfamiliar words that he hadn’t come across before. Julie, Elliott’s mum said that his confidence with reading increased enormously in these few weeks and she couldn’t believe how quickly he progressed in such a short time.


Alicia, age 6

Alicia’s parents were told by her teacher that she was below the required level in reading and they were very worried.  Alicia’s grandmother bought  a Reading Revival Toolkit she decided try it and see how Alicia got on.  Within a few weeks Alicia was reading Book 7 and her teacher contacted the family again. “What’s happened?” she asked. “Alicia’s reading has improved so much that she has now overtaken the rest of her class – I can’t believe the difference in such a short time!” Alicia’s mum explained that they were using the Reading Revival Toolkit and that Alicia was now not only picking up the new words in the reading books easily but also reading some words she had not seen before without being told what they were. Alicia’s grandmother has said that it has changed Alicia’s behaviour too, and now their little girl carries herself with greater poise and confidence. They are delighted.


Chris, age 15

Helena was called by a Special Educational Needs Coordinator to a secondary school in Devon to work with children who had not mastered the ability to read. Chris could read simple words but very haltingly so she trialled two Reading Revival toolkits that extend past book 12 of the first toolkit which are currently in development for children who have basic skill but still need considerable help. Chris started on book 15 after she explained that although these books were for younger children, but would help him read fluently in only two terms. He agreed readily. In two months he had read 15 of our books and brought a book of his own to show her called ‘Articulated Trucks’ that he had been reading for pleasure. This was a previously unheard of past time for him! He could now not only read fluently but could decipher words he had not been taught before, and now enjoys reading.


Katy, age 7

Reading Revival was asked to help a little girl of seven who did not have any diagnosed special educational needs but was still having difficulty with learning to read. This is a comment from Katy’s mum. “Katy was unable to read and by the age of seven she was demoralised and we despaired of how to help. After two weeks of 10 or so minutes daily with the Reading Revival method, she ‘cracked the reading code’ and became fluent shortly afterwards.   Now, 11 years on she has been accepted to the university she wanted. Thank you for teaching her to read!”


John, age 6

Before John started using Reading Revival, he could read no words at all and had very little knowledge of phonics. The only attempts he made at letter sounds were wrong and his Educational Advisor said he had the worst case of dyslexia she’d ever seen.  He had some memory problems and was being considered for statementing, but even so, by the end of the term (10 weeks later) he had completed all 12 books of the toolkit and was reading well. He had even begun to understand the connection between the sounds and words and was able to sound out some unknown words. With a vocabulary of around 160 words in just one term, this is truly astonishing progress. Here’s a word from John’s mum.

“My son was having such difficulties with reading that he was about to be statemented, and we were so worried. However, he started to learn to read using the Reading Revival toolkit and came home halfway through the scheme with book six. I was absolutely astonished when he read three pages straight off. My husband and I felt so emotional to hear him and are amazed at the difference. It made all the difference to his academic progress.”


Connie, age 4

You may recognise Connie from the short video on this website, where  you can watch her learning to read with the toolkit. She’s also the pretty model on our promotional leaflets. Connie had not started officially learning to read, so it was a good case study to show how a child can learn to read without starting by breaking words down into phonics. She had no difficulty learning to read using the Reading Revival toolkit and finished the toolkit in a few short weeks. Learning this way made reading easy and fun for her, and it made her want to keep on reading – something that schools often struggle with because many children think reading is a chore. She loves to read now.


Melisha, age 6

Melisha knew a few basic words when she began with Reading Revival in January 2011, but had a reading age below 5 years of age.  After nine weeks of 15 minute sessions three times a week she finished the 12 books of the scheme and was reading easily, with expression and with a reading age of 7. Her mother confirmed that Melisha had begun to love reading, and was enjoying reading as a hobby for the first time.


Josh, age 7

Josh was in the second year of school. He could read no more than a handful of words and the school had tried everything they could but to no avail. He also struggled to concentrate during lessons which affected his general academic progress.

After one term of using the Reading Revival toolkit in 10 minute sessions three or four times a week, he could read all 12 books and four others, and was reading fluently, even words he had not been taught before. He was transferred from the bottom half of year two to the top half of year three. His concentration improved drastically which positively impacted his performance in his other classes.


Emma, age 4

Emma-age-5I learned to read fluently when I was four years old. The picture is of me age six but we couldn’t find a younger one! I am the co-founder of Reading Revival and Helena (the other co-founder) is my mother. Helena had already taught many children to read as a primary school teacher so it was only natural that she should use her expertise to teach me and my twin sister Sally with the same method that worked so well with the other children in her care. I have a memory of standing at the teacher’s desk when I was six years old doing a reading test, and the teacher being astonished that I read every word in the whole test without faltering half the way through, as expected at my age. I was quite a shy child so it really boosted my confidence to be really good at something (in this case, reading!)