Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Primary 5: A small school in a rural market town

Fact file

Location York and Humber region
Setting Rural market town
Size One form entry
Proportion of SEN Fourth quintile
Pupils eligible FSM Lowest quintile
KS2 reading results performance band (similar schools, 2013) Highest quintile
KS2 reading results performance band (national, 2013) Highest quintile


The Rhythm for Reading intervention programme had been featured in a networking event for senior leadership teams in the local area.


The programme ran for a ten-week period from the January to the end of March 2015. All of the children in the school took part (Year 1 to Year 6). They were taught in nine groups of ten. Each group took part in one ten-minute session each week for ten weeks.


To measure the impact of the Rhythm for Reading intervention programme, twelve (PP) students were selected by the head teacher and her team for individual reading assessment. The younger children were assessed on development phonological awareness using CTOPP2, whereas the older children were assessed on oral reading using NARA before and after the ten-week Rhythm for Reading programme.

Progress report

The average (mean) reading scores for the group showed gains in reading accuracy (7 months), reading comprehension (21 months) and rate of reading (2 months) following the ten-week intervention programme. These standardised scores indicate that the rate of progress was faster than might have been expected during the three month period.

PP Year 1 through to Year 6 student voices


Before the programme began, John’s reading accuracy score was already two years above expectation for a Year 4 pupil. He read at a good pace; however, his comprehension skills were less-well developed, but age appropriate nonetheless. After the programme, he had noticed a change in his ability to focus.

It makes me happy to be so concentrated. I’ve never been so concentrated so much.

He engaged positively with Rhythm for Reading and in the follow-up assessment, his reading accuracy had gained 11 months and his reading comprehension age had substantially improved (by more than 45 months).


Freddie in Year 6, had reading age scores that were far lower than those of his classmates. For example, his reading comprehension age equivalent score was at least three years behind his chronological age. After taking part in the Rhythm for Reading programme, he had noticed a change in his ability to maintain the focus of his attention.

I’m concentrating a lot more - thinking about it, a lot more.

The follow-up reading assessment showed that having completed the ten-week Rhythm for Reading programme, his reading comprehension age score had improved very significantly (49 months). There was also a strong gain in reading accuracy (17 months).

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