Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Primary 8: A large primary school in a small rural town

Fact file

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


The school bought into the Rhythm for Reading programme on the recommendation of a nearby primary school and as part of an initiative led by their nearby Teaching School Alliance.


The Rhythm for Reading programme ran from March to June, 2015. Thirty students from Years 3, 4 and 5 took part in three groups of ten. Each group participated in a ten minute Rhythm for Reading session each week for ten weeks.


To measure the impact of the Rhythm for Reading programme on attainment in reading, the school selected four students from each year group for an assessment of oral reading, using the NARA, both before and after the ten-week programme.

Progress report

The average (mean) reading scores from the baseline and follow-up reading assessments were compared. The students had made a strong gain of 6 months in reading accuracy and a dramatic gain of 24 months in reading comprehension after the ten-week programme. They read more slowly (10 months).

Years 5 & 6 student voices


The baseline assessment for Rachel in Year 5 showed that her reading accuracy and comprehension age scores were more than two years below her chronological age.

When I’m reading a book, I kind of read faster and I pronounce some words differently now. I feel that I’ve improved a lot in reading.

Dramatic gains occurred in her reading comprehension (57 months) and reading accuracy (10 months).Her overall rate of reading decreased (13 months), because she read two additional passages of greater difficulty in the follow up assessment at a slower pace. However, there had been a strong gain in Rachel’s rate of reading on the first four passages (9 months).


In the baseline reading assessment, Kevin, in Year 6 read at an age appropriate pace, but his reading accuracy and reading comprehension age scores were nearly two years lower than his chronological age.

I’m reading better now. I’m understanding more words.

After the ten-week Rhythm for Reading programme, pleasing gains had occurred in Kevin’s reading comprehension (28 months) and accuracy (15 months). There was a small decrease in rate (2 months), as he read a more difficult passage in the follow-up assessment.

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