Making it REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy)
Making it REAL Programme
Making it REAL sets out to improve the way practitioners work
with parents; to hand over knowledge and build confidence through
meaningful early literacy activities to support the early home
learning environment and ultimately improve literacy and wider
outcomes for young children and their families.
Engaging parents in their children's early literacy
development has been shown to improve children's outcomes and is a
valuable intervention for narrowing the gap between disadvantaged
and other children.
What is the REAL approach?
Making it REAL uses the REAL approach and evidence base drawn
from the original REAL
project delivered by Professors Cathy Nutbrown and
Peter Hannon at the University of Sheffield. REAL uses a
framework which is called ORIM for short which stands for
Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction and Model which works
across the four strands of early literacy. Teachers and
practitioners share this framework with families through a series
of home visits and literacy events to support parents to think
through how they can create:
- More opportunities for children to engage and play with early
- How to recognise and value the small steps children make as
they make progress and learn
- How to interact in the most supportive ways, to talk, play and
let children join in everyday activities
- To become more conscious about the power they have as a model
themselves as a literacy user, making it explicit to their children
when they read and write, as children like to join in and copy what
How has the programme developed?
Making it REAL was first funded by the Big Lottery and operated
in Sheffield and Oldham from 2009-12 in collaboration with the
University of Sheffield. The project was really successful and won
the Early Years category in the Children and
Young People Now Awards 2012 for making the
greatest difference to young children's life chances.
Since 2013 the Department for Education has funded the national
Making it REAL programme providing support local authorities and a
range of non-statutory and private, independent and independent
early years setting and childminder groups across the
country. The 2013-15 programme consisted of a large-scale
rollout of Making it REAL training and project delivery in eight
local authorities in which practitioners received two-day project
training and delivered a series of home visits and literacy events
for local families.
The NCB Research Centre has evaluated the Making it REAL 2013-15
and findings consistently show positive impact on children's
the report from Year 2.
Download the report from Year 1.
Making it REAL 2015/2016
This year ECU continues to works in partnership with eight local
authority areas - Blackpool, Haringey, Luton, Oldham, Peterborough,
Sandwell, Sheffield and South Tyneside; to support them to take
Making it REAL to the next level of being able to cascade and
sustain the approach locally, and to support new areas through
sharing their experience. ECU is running a series of Making
it REAL events, co-hosted by three of the local authority project
areas. To find more information about the next Making
it REAL Neighbourhood hub event please click
To support wider engagement 20 one-day training courses and 15
consultancy and training support packages are being offered to new
areas across England. ECU is also developing further material and
tailored training focused on supporting two-year olds, bilingual
families, children with additional needs to improve inclusion
strategies. Information about the use of the Early Years
Pupil Premium for early intervention work is also being provided to
help sustain Making it REAL at a local
Making it REAL in Oldham
ECU has received funding from the Sutton Trust and Esmée
Fairbairn Foundation to develop and deliver Making it REAL in
Oldham, a 2.5 year project and feasibility trial through which ECU
will assess how well REAL works, compared to 'business as usual'
practice in settings where REAL is not routinely
Making it REAL runs from June 2015 to September 2017 and is part
of an exciting national initiative - the
Parental Engagement Fund, which is guided by the
University of Oxford and aims to evaluate the impact of engaging
families in children's learning. Making it REAL in Oldham is
one of six projects, all aimed at improving children's cognitive
development through partnerships with parents, particularly those
from disadvantaged backgrounds. For further information about
the project please contact Lucy Williams on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about
Making it REAL training and consultancy and
resources including A REAL
Approach to Maths.