The government has revealed details of its plan to boost reading standards at schools throughout the UK.
Under the new plan, those students who find themselves behind in reading and writing are to be offered additional lessons before they start secondary school.
The decision has been prompted by news that as many as 100,000 11-year-olds failed to reach the expected level of literacy by the time they join secondary school.
According to the government, the changes are guided by its overarching ambition of narrowing the achievement gap between pupils of different backgrounds.
"Improving reading standards in schools is central to the coalition government's education reforms," explained Sarah Teather, the children's minister.
"Being able to read fluently by the end of primary school is essential. Without these skills children fall further behind in their education.
"This programme, funded by the pupil premium, will help struggling pupils catch up.
"It will also help close the gulf in achievement, where the poorest children are less likely to leave school with five good GCSEs than their less disadvantaged classmates."
The Department for Education has confirmed that the classes will be made available to the children who are eligible for free school meals.
Despite this, Nansi Ellis, head of education policy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, has questioned the wisdom of the changes, arguing that the government is conflicted about whether the funding is "intended to boost literacy or to support pupils' transition from primary to secondary school".
It is imperative, she said, that the catch-up classes do not become obsessed with synthetic phonics, because the children who need such help have already failed to grasp the concept.
And while Ms Ellis hailed the government's effort to support disadvantaged children, she argued that the prescriptive nature of the revised curriculum is stifling the talents of individual teachers.
Capita - one of the leading permanent, part-time and supply teaching agencies in the UK.