While there is evidence for effective in-school programmes for struggling beginning readers, the evidence in relation to after-schools interventions focusing on academic outcomes is particularly weak. This study seeks to contribute to this body of evidence through a randomized trial (n=464) of an after-school literacy programme (DoodleDen) for struggling beginning readers in a deprived area of Dublin, Ireland. The programme based on a balanced literacy framework, was delivered in group settings, and had a strong focus on staff development. Doodle Den was found to improve the children’s overall literacy (d=+0.17), teacher assessments of their literacy ability (d=+0.28) and to positively impact on problem behaviours in regular school class (d=-0.18). The implications for the development of after-school programmes are discussed.