The Move4words Programme

Move4words is a 12-week physical, visual and auditory classroom intervention programme, which has been developed in collaboration with 35 UK Primary and Secondary schools since 2006. It is designed for pupils aged 5-12 in Years 1 to 6 in Key Stage 2 (KS1&2) and in Year 7 in early KS3.

It can be used with targeted groups of up to 30 poor readers from various classrooms all together, or small groups from a single class with a TA, or at an individual class level with the whole class by the class teacher.

The resources also include a further 120 days maintenance activities taking 5 minutes per day, to be used as a warm-up before the start of lessons for the following two terms after using the main intervention. These can be used as a whole class activity without following the main intervention, so long as poor readers have been through the full 12-week training.

Move4words is mainly a physical activity programme, focusing attention on body and eye movement, moving rhythmically, with timing and body coordination. It also includes listening exercises to train auditory attention, breathing training and relaxation exercises.

The main concept behind Move4words is that it is easier to learn to pay attention to simple physical, visual and auditory activities than to more complex cognitive tasks such as reading and maths.

To make delivery easy for participating teachers, the intervention is highly prescriptive, with each element of the 60 days' activity sessions laid out in step-by-step form on a DVD. Each days' session is a routine of 10 exercises covered fully by step-by-step videos.

More than 200 individual activities are modelled by videos of engaging child actors or animations. Pupils copy the video demonstrations of each activity, to train their visual, motor and auditory attention. The videos teach gradually more complex movement skills in a clear, day-by-day and week-by-week format.

The activities aim to improve the following areas which have been linked to academic success:-

  • Attention, concentration and self-control

  • Executive Function via physical training in many incremental steps, with repeated practice

  • Visual Attention and eye tracking skills

  • Rhythm and timing

  • Aerobic exercise

  • Thoughtful limb-movement patterns

  • Rhythmic, dynamic music

  • Mindful body movement and breath awareness

See more about why these areas are included on THE SCIENCE BEHIND Move4words page.

Year 4 children following a rhythmic clapping pattern

Year 3 children focusing their attention on an arm stretch sequence

Year 5 children concentrating on focusing hard on their thumb while they move it slowly up and down, to train visual attention.