Viv began her career in adult education and literacy teaching, and then joined the National Literacy Trust in 1994. In 2002 she was made project director of Literacy and Social Inclusion, a national development project to identify literacy support for those at risk, and she wrote a number of influential policy and research papers. From 2005 Viv worked as the Director of Reading is Fundamental, UK, a targeted reading project.
Viv moved across to become Chief Executive of Booktrust in 2007. In 2009, she also took over chairmanship of EU Read, a consortium of European reading promotion organisations who meet regularly to share knowledge, experiences and concepts.