Giving struggling readers intensive support such as Reading Recovery for roughly two school terms around age six does make a big difference ("Intensive care rescues pupils from illiteracy", TES, November 10). The Clackmannanshire study, cited as evidence for the effectiveness of phonics, made extensive use of such help too.
The reason relatively few children in need of such assistance have been receiving it is, as your article pointed out, because it is expensive. But quite a few people are now beginning to appreciate that without such help the public purse incurs huge costs from illiterate school leavers later on.
What is still not widely understood is that we would have far fewer children with reading problems, and less need for expensive individual literacy coaching of any kind, if English spelling was made a little more learner-friendly.