The bulk of the projects are aimed at students whose literacy levels at the end of primary school are below the national target levels.
In total 25 projects are to receive funding, with 19 focused on offering students literacy support during transition. The money has come from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
Among the successful schemes, £458,000 has been given to Real Action to test a didactic phonics programme delivered by university students to 400 pupils in London.
Dyslexia Action has received £390,000 to test a computer-based phonics programme across 50 schools, while The Book Trust gets £218,000 to evaluate the impact of providing reading materials and volunteers to help 900 children during the summer break.
The six non-literacy grants include £687,000 for a project which will improve the resilience and self-control of pupils across 30 secondary schools. Researchers from the London School of Economics and Hertfordshire County Council will test the impact on attainment.
Elsewhere, £900,000 has been awarded to the Innovation Unit to work in 12 schools in the Midlands, North West and South East of England to trial a project-based approach to teaching.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the EEF, said: “In England, a child’s background has a stronger bearing on their future than in almost any other developed country. This tremendous group of projects aims to help those students who need it most. The projects will be rigorously evaluated and if proven to be successful they will be scaled up.”
The EEF is expecting to announce more literacy catch up grants towards the end of the year. Since its creation in 2011 the EEF has awarded £23.4 million to 45 projects that aim to improve the attainment of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Visit www.eefoundation.org.uk