Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Primary 7: A large primary school in a small city

Fact file

Location East of England
Setting Social housing estate
Size Four form entry
Proportion of SEN Fourth quintile
Pupils eligible FSM Second quintile
KS2 reading results performance band (similar schools, 2013) Second quintile
KS2 reading results performance band (national, 2013) Fourth quintile


The school took part in a networking event organised for academics, head teachers and literacy coordinators. The principal kindly accepted an invitation to trial the Rhythm for Reading programme.


The trial of the Rhythm for Reading programme ran from May to July, 2015. During this period, 30 students from Years 3, 4 and 5 took part in a ten-minute Rhythm for Reading session each week for ten weeks.


To measure the impact of the programme on progress in reading, twelve of the students from the Year 3 and Year 5 groups were assessed on oral reading ability using the NARA, both before and after the ten week programme.

Progress report

The average (mean) reading scores from before and after the trial period were compared. A small gain on reading accuracy was expected (2 months), but there was a remarkable average improvement in reading comprehension (26 months) in the follow up assessment and a slower pace of reading (5 months).

Year 5 student voices


In the baseline assessment, Habeeba read extremely quickly, but somewhat inaccurately. In particular, her reading comprehension age score was more than three years behind her chronological age. After the ten-week programme, Habeeba’s reading had become more fluent.

Miss told me that I read more in a flow and I can sound out hard words.

There was a significant gain in Habeeba’s reading comprehension age score (29 months) and a strong gain in her reading accuracy score (7 months). Her reading rate had slowed down considerably, but still exceeded expectation for her age.


Tobias read accurately, but slowly in the baseline reading assessment and his reading comprehension age score was recorded as three years behind his chronological age. Following the programme, he had noticed an improvement in his reading:

It’s really good because I didn’t used to know a lot of hard words like suspicious.

The follow-up reading assessment showed that Tobias had made a substantial gain in reading comprehension (42 months) and a strong gain both in reading accuracy and reading rate (six months).

The students’ names have been changed to protect their identity.