Wave 3

FFT Wave 3 Programme for teachers and TAs

Full Report



Trained Trainers

Fischer Family Trust Wave 3 (FFT Wave 3) is an early intervention for children in Year 1 who have difficulties learning to read and write.  FFT Wave 3 is aimed at children who are unable to access a scripted group intervention, but who do not have the depth of need that would require the support of a Reading Recovery programme. It is based on the pedagogy and practice of Reading Recovery.  The programme is included in the review of literacy intervention schemes compiled by Greg Brooks in 'What Works for pupils with Literacy Difficulties': 3rd Edition 2007


The aim with FFT Wave 3 is to accelerate learning so that each child makes enough progress in reading and writing in order to access a group intervention and/or continue to progress through whole class /group teaching.  At Year 1 the gap between a targeted child and the rest of the class will be relatively small, so it is easier to use an effective intervention to accelerate their learning in order to close the gap with their peers. FFT Wave 3 can be used with year groups other than Year 1, although texts will need to be adapted for different maturity levels. The programme contributes to a layered approach to interventions.

The programme in outline

  • Designed for TAs working one-to-one with a Year 1 child
  • Targets children who do not have the skills to access group programmes
  • 15-20 minutes daily for 10-20 weeks
  • A 2-day rolling programme (reading one day, writing the next)
  • Delivered by an experienced Teaching Assistant who has attended the 3-day training

Structure of the FFT Wave 3 programme

Each child's programme is based on the initial assessment.  It addresses skills and knowledge at word, sentence and text level.  Letter and Word work is always immediately applied to reading or writing continuous text.  The aim is for the child to develop a range of independent reading and writing strategies.

Day 1  Reading Day

The child:

  1. Re-reads a familiar book (4-5 mins)
  2. Carries out 3 fast letter/word work activities (3 mins)
  3. Reads a new book following a book introduction (6-8 mins)
  4. Reconstructs a cut-up sentence taken from the book (2 mins)
  5. Learns a new word from the book (2 mins)

Day 2  Writing Day

The child:

  1. Re-reads yesterday's book (4-5 mins) - weekly running record
  2. Revises word(s) learnt in the previous sessions (2 mins)
  3. Composes and writes a sentence based on a picture or stimulus from the book (8-9 mins)
  4. Learns a spelling from the writing (2 mins)
  5. Reconstructs a cut-up sentence from the writing (2 mins)

The training

FFT Wave 3 is a highly successful reading intervention programme.

The trainer training for Wave 3 is for experienced consultants, subject leaders, Reading Recovery teachers, as well as teachers who have worked with early reading interventions and have significant experience in delivering training.  The training is designed to prepare you to train colleagues to run FFT Wave 3 training.

FFT Wave 3 is a three-day training for both the Teaching Assistant and the Class Teacher. A file accompanies the training.

Aims of training

  • To give adults a deeper understanding of the needs of children who find reading and writing difficult
  • To provide a structure for individual teaching
  • To promote inclusion by enhancing Quality First Teaching

Content of training

Day 1 - Assessment procedures for early literacy including running records
Day 2 - The reading process
Day 3 - The writing process

There is a week to ten days between each training day to allow for consolidation of training.   Set tasks are part of the training.  Activities and approaches will also support Guided and Shared reading and writing.

Academic Accreditation is available for all staff involved in training, delivering or supporting the FFT Wave 3 programme through Edge Hill University. FEP also offer trainer accreditation which is a professional accreditation and means of quality assuring trainers working outside a local authority.  Please click on the trainer accreditation tab on the left hand menu.


The FFT Wave 3 programme has been recognised as an effective approach to boosting children's reading and writing. A summary of impact and a detailed report based on research into the progress made by 255 children can be found by following the research tab on the left hand menu.

For further information, to arrange training for your school or cluster, or to find out about training in your area,  please contact JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING or telephone 01642 230811

FFT Wave 3 Research

Summary of results from the 2009 Report

Gains in reading

Based on results of 255 children who averaged 58 sessions over 15 weeks:

Gains in writing

Only 121/255 sets of data gave a writing assessment.  This was partly due to old record sheets being used.   Some teacher assessments used 'W' as a descriptor and some used 'P' levels, hence the inclusion of both.  Training notes for FFT Wave 3 state that the programme does not address the needs of pupils working above a low Level 2 in writing.

Example of writing progress

The writing is like a mini-shared writing session.   The child writes what they know, the adult writes what is too hard for the child and they work together at the child's next stage of learning.  The two writing samples indicate this.

Full report

Click here to download PDF file:  2009 Report

Standards and Guidelines for the Implementation of Fischer Family Trust Wave 3 (Starfish Project)

These guidelines state minimum requirements to ensure the successful implementation of Fischer Family Trust Wave 3

(FFT Wave 3).

Section 1 Background

Fischer Family Trust Wave 3 (FFT Wave 3) is an early intervention for children who have difficulties learning to read and write.  The aim is to accelerate learning so that each child makes enough progress in reading and writing in order to access a group intervention and/or continue to progress through whole class /group teaching. It is designed to be delivered by an experienced teaching assistant (TA), under the guidance of a Reading Recovery teacher or a literacy coordinator/ class teacher who has been trained in the programme.  The term teaching assistant (TA) is used as a generic term referring to support staff working under the guidance of a teacher.


FFT Wave 3 is designed primarily for children in Year 1, working at or below National Curriculum Level 1 and unable to access a scripted group intervention.  It is also successful for children in Years 2/3.   This daily 15-20 minute programme, reading one day, writing the next, is tailored to meet the needs of the individual.

Children's programmes last between 10 and 20 weeks, depending on the child's need.

Which is the most appropriate Literacy Intervention for your needs?

The table allows you to compare the aims and approaches of different interventions: Reading Recovery, FFT Wave 3 and the Better Reading Partnership. Schools and LAs will make choices about which to adopt or promote given the specific needs of the children and the resources available to them.

Reading Recovery

FFT Wave 3

Better Reading Partnership


Children accelerate to within the average band of the class.  (Average gains 7/8 APS)

Children accelerate to being able to access a group intervention or minimum. Average gains 4 /5 APS

Children  accelerate reading performance with average gain 6-9mths in reading age


  • Daily, one to one with a trained teacher
  • 30 minute lessons
  • 12-20 weeks
  • Daily one to one with trained TA1 overseen by trained teacher
  • 15-20 minute lessons over 10-20 weeks
  • 3 sessions a week with trained TA or volunteer oversee n by trained teacher-co-ordinator
  • 15-20 minute lessons over 10 weeks


  • One year's training (1/2 day fortnightly)
  • Continued Professional Development after initial year
  • One day Assessment training for a Link teacher from the school
  • 3 days initial training
  • Continued Professional Development whilst running the programme
  • Class teacher/ SENCO trained with TA
  • 2 days for school based TAs/1 day for volunteers
  • Co-ordinator to attend 2nd day or both days

Target pupils

  • Y1 /2 pupils aged between 5.9 - 6.3
  • RR teacher works with minimum 4
  • Lowest achievers (lowest 7%)
  • Y1 - Y4 (working at P7 / low Level 1)
  • Number depends on time available
  • FFT takes next children (Lowest 15%)
  • Y1 - Y9
  • Minimum level Book Band 3
  • Volunteers to work with KS2/3 only


  • Pre and post assessment through Marie Clay's Observation Survey
  • On-going Assessment for learning through teacher's daily record and daily running record analysis
  • Assessment from (Some RR schools use the Observation Survey)
  • On-going Assessment for learning through TAs daily record and weekly running record analysis
  • Pre and post assessment - standardised reading test (recommend YARC)
  • On-going Assessment for learning through teacher's record and running record analysis

Lesson Structure 2

  • Reading and writing in one lesson
  • Addresses letter, word, sentence and text level objectives
  • Rolling programme of a Reading day then a Writing Day
  • Addresses letter, word, sentence and text level objectives
  • Reading practice on familiar texts; 2nd reading of new text for assessment; introduction of new text
  • Focus on efficiency, fluency, pace and understanding in reading


  • Informed about the programme
  • Give permission
  • Involved in on-going discussions of child's progress
  • Engaged in take home activities
  • Informed about the programme
  • Give permission
  • Engaged in take home activities
  • Parent pack of activities is available
  • Informed about the programme
  • Give permission
  • Involved in supporting their child by listening to them read at home

Section 2: Structure of FFT Wave 3 Programme

The programme consists of daily sessions in a rolling programme of a reading day, writing day, reading day, writing day etc.

On the Reading Day the child:

1.       Re-reads a familiar book (4/5 mins)

2.       Carries out three fast letter-work activities (3 mins)

3.       Reads a new book following a book introduction (8 mins)

4.       Reconstructs a cut up sentence from the book (2 mins)

5.       Learns a new word from the book (2 mins)

On the Writing Day the child:

1.       Re-reads yesterday's new book - the adult takes a running record once a week (5 mins)

2.       Revises word(s)previously learnt (2 mins)

3.       Composes and writes a sentence based on a picture or stimulus from the book (7/8 mins)

4.       Reconstructs a cut up sentence taken from the written sentence (2 mins)

5.       Learns a spelling from the writing just completed (2 mins)

Section 3: Training

Training for Trainers who wish to deliver FFT Wave 3 in their own local areas

  • Trainers must have experience and credibility as trainers in early literacy or special needs.
  • Trainers who do not have a background in Reading Recovery attend a three day training session. Reading Recovery   Teacher Leaders attend two days.
  • Training enables the trainer to train teachers and TAs to use the programme in school.
  • All trainers must purchase a Trainer File.
  • Trainers can only offer training within their own local authority or consortium unless accredited for a wider training role.
  • Trainers should experience using the assessments and delivering the programme, before delivering their own training.
  • Trainers must be prepared for a national FFT trainer to observe them delivering training.
  • Trainers must deliver the training as stated, within one year.
  • Trainers must submit data and an evaluation of the impact of the programme to FFT Literacy Support Project Ltd.
  • Trainers should attend an up-date session every two years.

Training for Teaching Assistants (TAs) and teachers

  • TAs attending training and running the programme must be experienced in working with Guided Reading, a small group intervention, Better Reading Partnership or similar programme.
  • The TA and the Class teacher must attend a three day training course and purchase the Teaching File.
  • Tasks will be set and must be completed between each session.
  • In order to maintain an effective high quality implementation, TAs must attend a minimum of one half-day professional development per term.
  • Observations of lessons and discussions of children's progress contribute to professional development. TAs should be observed, at least once a term by someone trained in the programme.

Section 4:  Area based management of FFT

The most effective implementations occur where several practitioners are trained as trainers, working as a team, to monitor and support schools, carry out lesson observations and offer additional training sessions.

  • Identify personnel with appropriate experience in KS1 or in special educational needs to be trained as trainers and to take a management lead.
  • Acknowledge the role of FFT Wave 3 within a layered approach to interventions, by ensuring that links between personnel and interventions are in place.
  • Facilitate the three day teacher/TA training, follow-up sessions and school observations.
  • Ensure that Head teachers have full information about the commitment needed to successfully implement the programme, before attending training. (Meetings are more effective than letters.)
  • Gather data to evaluate the effectiveness across schools.
  • Submit data to Fischer Family Trust, Literacy Support Project Ltd, Letchworth.

Section 5: The role of the trainer

Trainers are accredited to work in their own local area/authority/consortium. They may not offer training nationally.

  • Attend an initial 3 day training plus one up-date session every two years.
  • Deliver the training programme within the recommended guidelines.
  • Be fully cognisant with running records.
  • Ensure that every TA attending training has the support of a Reading Recovery teacher or a teacher trained in FFT Wave 3.
  • Have practical experience of delivering the assessments and some sessions.
  • Support schools through school visits and a minimum of one observation in the first ten weeks.
  • Run at least one additional professional development for TAs.
  • Support schools through monitoring and evaluating implementations through both qualitative and quantitative information.
  • Promote FFT Wave 3 within the area/consortium.
  • Gather and analyse data in relation to expectations from the programme.

Section 6:  School based management

  • Embed FFT Wave 3 in a whole school approach to interventions.
  • Schools with a Reading Recovery teacher need to have a clear view of which pupils should access Reading Recovery and which FFT Wave 3.
  • Identify an experienced, effective TA to deliver the intervention. Experienced = has worked successfully with a group intervention or with Better Reading Partnership or with Guided Reading groups.
  • Ensure the Class teacher, literacy coordinator or SENCO trains with the TA.
  • Ensure appropriate support and guidance is in place for the TA.
  • Ensure adequate resources for delivering the programme, as listed in the file - book provision, magnetic letters etc.
  • Safeguard a daily time and if possible a consistent place for the TA to work -this can be inside or outside a classroom.
  • Enable time for the TA and teacher to meet weekly.
  • Provide preparation time for the TA.
  • Allocate time for the FFT trained teacher to observe the TA.
  • Inform and include parents. Parents should sign a consent form indicating that they support the child's inclusion in the programme.
  • Gather qualitative and quantitative data to assess impact of the programme. (Guidelines are in the file.)
  • Submit data to the trainer.
  • Build capacity through access to acknowledged FFT training. Cascade training is not effective.

Section 7: The role of the Teaching Assistant

  • Attend 3 - day training with a teacher.
  • Assess children before and after the intervention.
  • Share data with the class teacher.
  • Adhere to the structure and pedagogy of the programme.
  • Teach each child every day for 15-20 minutes.
  • Keep a register of the child's attendance at each session.
  • Keep short lesson notes of children's progress.
  • Complete record sheets.
  • Liaise with the Class teacher to identify objectives and make decisions about moving through the book levels.
  • Keep teacher informed of progress and difficulties.
  • Attend additional FFT Wave 3 training sessions.

Section 8:  The role of the teacher

(Class teacher trained with the TA or the Reading Recovery teacher)

  • Attend the 3 - day training.
  • Select children for the initial diagnostic assessments.
  • Support the TA during assessment and work together to complete the assessment summary sheet.
  • Safeguard the appropriate time slots for delivery and preparation.
  • Meet with the TA weekly.
  • Support the analysis of running records, as required.
  • Keep up with the child's accelerated learning e.g. ensure that books used in Guided Reading reflect the level the child is working at in FFT Wave 3.
  • Support child's progress in writing by encouraging the use of new knowledge in class/group tasks.
  • Make daily writing tasks accessible to the children in the programme.
  • Maintain links with SENCO and ensure assessment information is updated and used to inform IEPs.
  • Support decisions about moving through book levels and identifying objectives.
  • Agree exit strategies.
  • Observe one session each half term to maintain quality of teaching and learning for both teacher and TA.
  • Gather data to monitor the effectiveness of the programme within the school.
  • Submit data to the trainer.

Section 9: National trainers

National Trainers will be appointed by Fischer Family Trust.  They will be highly experienced and successful trainers with experience of working at management level within a school and an authority.

Only National trainers can train other trainers.  National Trainers will:

  • Lead initial training for local authority or school based trainers
  • Visit trainers to monitor their delivery of FFT Wave 3 training
  • Provide an up-date session every two years that trainers will be expected to attend in order to maintain their accreditation.
  • Collate national data to share with trainers each year.

Carry out quality assurance of the programme at a national level.

  • Provide a 'help line' service for all accredited trainers.

Section 10: Accreditation

1. Trainer (Professional) Accreditation

  • FFT Literacy Support Projects will keep a list of Accredited trainers, who can be recommended to schools, clusters, LAs.
  • Trainers must apply to be accredited.
  • Please follow the links to trainer accreditation on the left hand menu for more details

2. Academic Accreditation (This accreditation is available for everyone who has been trained in FFT Wave 3 and who has taught the intervention programme)

  • Academic Accreditation is available, through Edge Hill University, for TAs, teachers and trainers.
  • Accreditation is offered at several levels. Access to each level depends on prior academic achievement, not job title.
  • Accreditation can be accessed after delivering the programme for 10 weeks. Lesson Records kept during that time may be used as evidence towards accreditation.
  • Any queries regarding Accreditation should be addressed directly to Edge Hill University


Fischer Family Trust Wave 3 (FFT Wave 3) is an early intervention for children who have difficulties learning to read and write.  FFT Wave 3 is aimed at children who are unable to access a scripted group intervention, but who do not have the depth of need exemplified in children accessing Reading Recovery. It is based on the pedagogy andpractice of Reading Recovery.  The aim is to accelerate learning so that each child makesenough progress in reading and writing in order to access a group intervention and/orcontinue to progress through whole class /group teaching.

FFT Literacy offers training at two levels – trainer training and school/ cluster training.

Trainer training consists of three consecutive days training which allows trainers to train within their cluster/ school or LA.  Training can be organised through the LA or cluster as well as the advertised central training

Everyone attending trainer training is required to purchase a file which contains comprehensive trainer notes as well as the school file,  a CD of the PowerPoint presentations and  2 DVDs which can be used for initial and/or any follow-up training.

Trainer Training can be upgraded to Accredited Trainer status, which allows trainers to train in their neighbouring LAs.   Accredited trainers will be recommended by us as good trainers who will ensure the quality of the implementation of the programme.  See section on web-site.

Comments from evaluations:

Thank you for three very thorough and enjoyable days.  I have gained valuable knowledge which I can use in a variety of training

Clear presentation.  Lots of support re-  queries/ways forward.  Materials were covered in detail.  Valuable support for early reading and writing.

The pace has been excellent and the knowledge of the trainer in no doubt.   We felt safe to ask questions and challenge ideas. Good to practise tasks which were still challenging, despite super examples on DVD.

School and cluster training

Training for teachers and teaching assistants (TA) consists of 3 days training with a week between each day, so that tasks can be carried out as part of embedding the training.  Each TA will need to purchase a file.   Files are only sold as part of the training.

Trainer Accreditation

To ensure that the quality of the programme is maintained we are implementing an Accredited Trainer programme.   The current three day programme does not accredit people.  It gives basic background knowledge and training necessary for training teachers and teaching assistants.   However, as explained during the training and outlined in both our reports, the continuing quality of the intervention depends the support offered after the training.  Observations, data collection and follow up training are crucial.

Outline of Trainer Accreditation

In order to become accredited and therefore recommended by us, trainers must commit to:

  • Deliver the three-day training at least once a year
  • Register all training that they deliver with FEP to keep our data base updated
  • Purchase files from us - all materials are copywrite
  • Provide at least one follow up session for each training cohort
  • Provide evidence of monitoring the programme, either by submitting a small case study or evidence of a minimum of 5 observations
  • Enable FFT trainer to visit one training day or accompany a school visit
  • Submit data from each cohort
  • Attend an update session annually

The fee for accreditation is currently £300 for 2 years


  • You will be listed as an accredited trainer on our website.
  • We will inform authorities of our list of accredited trainers.
  • Accredited trainer lists will be linked to other websites
  • All updates will be free. Non-accredited trainers will no longer get free updates
  • You will have a £20 discount for other FEP training events

Trainer Accreditation

Please note that FFT Literacy National Trainers are the only trainers who can train other trainers and who can advertise their school training nationally.

There will in future be four levels of trainer.  The original contract and conditions of training remain relevant for all levels.  The levels are:

1.      Local Authority Trainers who have attended training and do not wish to be recommended or accredited as they

only wish to work in their existing authority.  Updates and additional training will have to be paid for.

2.      Recommended trainers - those working towards Accreditation

3.      Accredited trainers - who have fulfilled the requirements of accreditation

4.      National trainers - appointed by FFT Literacy to train trainers and work at school level

Contact Details 01642 230811

List of Accredited Trainers for FFT Wave 3

The following people are recommended as established trainers who have a thorough knowledge and understanding of FFT Wave 3.  They have undergone the Accreditation process and shown that they are excellent trainers, able to deliver training and support the implementation and development of the programme in schools.  Please contact us  on 01642 230811 for your nearest local accredited trainer.

Alison Potter 

Janet Ferris

Rosa Pryke

Jo Heffer

Karen Pickett

Carole Graham

Rebecca Tyrrell

Caroline MacGregor

National Trainers

National trainers work for Fischer Education Project.  They  are responsible for training trainers, monitoring the Accreditation process and updating materials.  National trainers also deliver training to schools.

Jill Canning

Andrew Taylor

Resources For trainers:

Trainer Box   £150

Trainers may purchase a trainer box, which gives sufficient resources to train groups of 24-30.


  • Strips for cut-up sentences
  • Masking cards for assessment
  • Page of white sticky labels for writing task
  • En el zoo 6 copies + English translation
  • 6 copies: Where are the sunhats? Nelson Thornes PM Starters
  • 8 assorted books at Pink level books
  • 8 ready made letter activities with magnetic letters
  • Pack of magnetic letters, providing 4 copies of each letter - Smart Kids


Book introduction activity                             £15.00

En el Zoo: 6 copies plus 1 translation ________________________________________________________

Understanding about print:                           £5.00 per pack.

1 copy of adult's book plus one copy of

child's book plus photocopiable  record sheet.


Continuing Professional Development        £90

Material for 6 continuing professional development sessions includes DVD, training notes and books to support training activities


For schools who have attended training

DVD of lessons                                                £15


Parent Pack                                                    £35

Games and handouts from the FFT Wave 3 training.  The parent pack contains 1 hard copy of each resource and a CD to print multiple copies. It is designed for schools to use at parent's meetings, before sending activities home.  Some handouts are 'stand alone'.  It is not sold to parents.

Postage and Packing and VAT needs to be added to all resources:

To order any of these additional materials please contact 01642 230811. Alternatively email JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING