Closing the Vocabulary Gap

Project evaluation report

Buzzeo J, Muir D, Patel R |   | Institute for Employment Studies  | Sep 2023

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Closing the Vocabulary Gap is a programme designed by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) to improve early reading and writing in pre-school children. The project has the overarching aim of improving young children’s vocabulary in early years settings and reducing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

It seeks to achieve this by delivering a sustained CPD programme to early years teachers, enhancing teachers’ subject and pedagogic knowledge of how texts can support the development of literacy and language. A key element of the project is a book gifting programme where children receive books into their homes and the same books are delivered to their schools. This three-year project began in April 2020 and finished at the end of the 2022/23 academic year.

This report presents the findings from a joint evaluation by the Institute for Employment Studies and the Sutton Trust of the Closing the Vocabulary Gap (CVG) project. This evaluation report covers the first two years of delivery up to the end of the 2021/22 academic year.

The research methods for this study included two components: in-depth qualitative interviews with teachers participating in the project and the collection and analysis of pupil outcome data. Both research methods spanned the first two years of CVG project delivery in the academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22.

The IES evaluation is featured in the new  summary of research from CLPE: The Power of Reading in the Early Years Report 2023