Grants of £10,000 are to be made to primary schools that excel at teaching pupils to read, as part of a government drive to eliminate illiteracy.
School reform minister Nick Gibb revealed the money will be made available to eight groups of schools, led by top-performing primaries, where it will be used to improve phonics teaching methods that have the potential to work for other institutions.
Since the phonics screening check was introduced in 2012, 100,000 more six-year-olds are on track to become proficient readers.
However, the government claims more needs to be done to raise standards of literacy, as too many pupils are still not confident in phonics at the end of year 1.
Mr Gibb said: "This funding allows schools to share their expertise and I am confident it will lead to even more young people acquiring the foundation of effective reading at an early age - putting them on the path to a successful education."
Achieving the expected standard in the phonics check, which is completed by all year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and free schools, is a strong indicator of a pupil's performance in wider reading assessments.
The check enables teachers to identify the children who require extra help, so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills.
In 2014, 74 per cent of year 1 pupils met the expected standard in the screening check - a 16 percentage point rise on 2012's figure. Based on the 2014 cohort, this is equivalent to 102,000 more children doing well.
The high-performing schools that will lead the new groups receiving the grants have a track record of leading improvement activity. The groups will also include schools seeking to make rapid improvements in their phonics teaching.
Posted by Theo Foulds