What Works for Literacy Difficulties?

A.R.R.O.W.™ (Aural-Read-Respond-Oral-Write)

A.R.R.O.W.™ (Aural-Read-Respond-Oral-Write)

Reading Accuracy

 Ratio Gain:   32.0 

 Effect Size:    n/a

Reading Comprehension

 Ratio Gain:   44.0 

 Effect Size:   n/a


 Ratio Gain:   16.0 

 Effect Size:    n/a 


 Ratio Gain:  n/a

 Effect Size:  n/a 


Colin Lane has for many years been refining his theory that hearing one’s own voice is a psychological key to much language comprehension and performance, that the cause of some children’s difficulty in learning to read and spell is having an indistinct or unattended ‘self-voice’, and that being able to hear their own voices can help some children make good progress. His system uses computer software with headphones to provide personalised many-layered programs tailored to each child’s particular needs. Children work individually with a laptop. The program displays a piece of text at an appropriate level, anywhere from a single letter to a short paragraph. The child hears it spoken, then repeats it aloud and records it, then plays it back – repeating this process as often as wished. Each mini-exercise ends with the requirement that the child writes down the piece of text. Each child should ideally receive the program for one hour a day for ten consecutive school days. One teacher or teaching assistant can supervise as many children as the school has laptops for. The scheme is particularly appropriate for children with reading or spelling weaknesses, but has also been used as a whole-class programme.

Evaluation Summary

In 2010 Colin Lane published a book setting out his theories and providing copious data on its use in various settings. From the information available, data was analysed from an independent study carried out by Andrew Richards of Exeter University with a sample of 85 Y6 children in one primary school in Bristol, and Colin Lane’s own largest dataset, of 361 children across England and Wales who received the program in 2007-10 (unpublished details supplied by Colin Lane). The Primary-level studies show remarkable impact for reading accuracy and reading comprehension, and remarkable impact for spelling. The Secondary-level data also show remarkable impact for spelling and reading accuracy.

Brooks's what works for literacy difficulties?

6th Edition (2020)

Lavan, G. & Talcott, J. B.

Related Links


Click here for all schemes with analysed data for improving reading accuracy and/or comprehension.


Click here for all schemes with analysed data for improving spelling.


Click here for all schemes with analysed data for improving writing.

Research & Blog
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Other Resources

from The School Psychology Service

Managing Challenging Behaviour in the Classroom (Dr Gary Lavan)

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