Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Primary 3: A medium sized school in Greater London

Fact file

Location South East
Setting Greater London
Size Two form entry
Proportion of SEN Third quintile
Pupils eligible FSM Highest quintile
KS2 reading results performance band (similar schools, 2013) Highest quintile
KS2 reading results performance band (national, 2013) Highest quintile


A new member of the senior leadership team had recommended the Rhythm for Reading intervention programme upon joining the school in 2014. She had observed its success in her previous school (see case study Primary 2) with key stage one children, who needed support with phonological awareness. This school has used the programme with two cohorts of Year One children to date.


The programme ran for a six-week period with twenty Year 1 students taught in four groups of five. Students took part in two ten-minute sessions per week.


To measure the impact of the Rhythm for Reading intervention programme, twelve Year 1 students were selected by the school for assessment of phonological skills using CToPP2, both before and after the six-week programme. The elision test requires the student to isolate and extract a part of a word, and then to say the new word. The blending test requires the student to combine small parts of words and to say the new word. The memory for digits test requires the student to listen to gradually longer strings of digits and to recall and repeat the digits in the same order.

Progress report

The percentile scores indicated that accelerated progress had been made in elision, blending and memory for digits. Students with lower scores on the memory for digits test tended to have lower scores on the elision test, which is unsurprising as the memory has a greater role to play in phonological elision than in phonological blending. The percentile scores for the Year 1 students indicate that the rate of progress was faster than might have been expected.

Year 1 student voices


I liked the dinosaur one when we stand up and do it with our mouth and clapping. It made me feel happy

James was a quiet member of the group, but persevered from the very beginning of the programme. The CToPP2 scores show that his percentile rank on elision increased from 9 to 25 (12 months progress in two months); his percentile rank on blending increased from 50 to 91 (30 months progress in two months). The memory for digits sub-test was expected to remain the same – at the 5th percentile, but dropped to the first percentile. Evidently, James’ ability in recall had not developed during this period, but his phonological skills had dramatically improved.


I liked the dinosaur – it’s so cool

Paulina worked hard to accomplish the rhythm-based exercises accurately in the majority of sessions and her co-ordination improved quickly. The CToPP2 percentile rank on elision increased from 5 to 16 (9 months progress in two months) on blending, from 1 to 84 (equivalent to 21 months) and there was no change at the 25th percentile rank on memory for digits.

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