Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Primary 6: A large primary school in Inner London

Fact file

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


The school was invited to trial Rhythm for Reading in a nine-month long collaboration with a local independent school. Following a successful trial period, the collaboration between the two schools continued for three additional cycles of the programme.


Each cycle ran for a five-week period of one half term, from June 2014 to the end of March 2015. During the period of the collaboration, students from Years 3, 4 and 5 took part in two ten-minute Rhythm for Reading sessions each week for five weeks. They also read to their Year 12 reading mentor for ten minutes each week. Five Year 12 mentors took part in each cycle of the programme.


To measure the impact of the Rhythm for Reading and Mentoring programme, twelve of the key stage two students were selected by the school’s literacy coordinator for assessment in each half term cycle. The twelve were the lowest attaining students in their year group and were measured on oral reading using NARA before and after the five-week cycle of the programme.

Progress report

The average (mean) reading scores for the Year 3 group showed gains in reading accuracy (4 months), reading comprehension (9 months) and rate (4 months) following a five-week cycle. The standardised scores for the Year 3 students indicate that the rate of progress was far more rapid than might have been expected in one month.

Year 3 student voices


In her baseline assessment, Claire’s scores for both accuracy and reading comprehension were six months behind her chronological age. After the five-week Rhythm for Reading and Mentoring programme, she had noticed a change in her classwork.

Normally I can’t concentrate very well. It’s helping me concentrate. I finish my work more.

Substantial gains had occurred in her reading comprehension (11 months) and rate of reading (33 months), though her reading accuracy stayed the same.


The baseline reading assessment showed that Anya’s reading accuracy and reading comprehension age scores were 9 months and 12 months behind her chronological age. Her rate of reading was fast and exceeded her chronological age by 14 months. Like Claire, Anya had noticed an improvement in her work in class.

I listen much better and I concentrate more.

After the five-week Rhythm for Reading intervention programme the follow-up assessment showed that improvements had occurred in Anya’s reading comprehension (13 months) and reading accuracy (7 months). Her rate of reading had slowed down a little (5 months), but remained faster than expected for her age.

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