The relationship between reading and empowerment, though often taken for granted, is complex. The paper describes a pilot research project, which sought to explore how teachers might change their practice in such a way as to empower the children in their care, rather than enculture them into the rather more passive and compliant practices of schooled literacy in the time of the National Literacy Strategy. The paper particularly explores the challenge of methodology: a project about empowerment needs emancipatory research methods. Can research empower, and can teachers, so dominated by the status quo, find the confidence to take on the responsibility that power confers? The paper describes the attempt to empower teachers and the researchers' attempt to gather evidence of that empowerment.