Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Secondary 2: A secondary school in Inner London

Fact file

Location Inner London
Setting Inner London
Size Four form entry
Proportion of SEN Second quintile
Pupils eligible FSM Highest quintile
GCSE English (similar schools, 2013) Second quintile
GCSE English (national, 2013) Highest quintile


The school bought into Rhythm for Reading after a successful trial period.


The programme ran for a ten-week period from October 2013 to February 2014 with twelve Year 7 students taught in a single group of twelve. They took part in one ten-minute session each week for ten weeks. For the purposes of teacher training, the programme ran for a second ten-week period from November 2014 to February 2015 with 24 students taking part as a single group.


To measure the impact of the Rhythm for Reading intervention programme, twelve of the 24 Year 7 students were selected by the school for assessment. Their progress in oral reading was measured using NARA before and after the ten-week Rhythm for Reading programme.

Progress report

The average (mean) reading scores for the group showed strong gains in both reading accuracy (6 months) and in reading comprehension (22 months). There was also a small gain in rate (1 month) following the ten-week intervention programme. The standardised scores for the Year 7 students indicated that the rate of progress was faster than might have been expected.

Year 7 student voices


Prior to the programme, the baseline assessment showed that Amos’s reading accuracy was 18 months behind his chronological age, but his rate of reading and reading comprehension age were 18 months behind his reading accuracy age. Following the programme he had noticed a change in his work in class:

When I read over my work, I know how to pronounce words - it’s good.

Amos improved sharply in reading comprehension (36 months) and reading rate (12 months). His reading accuracy score improved at the expected rate (4 months).


Before the ten-week programme, ‘Elena’ read very quickly. Her reading accuracy and comprehension ages were four years behind her chronological age. During the programme, Elena became aware of a change in her ability to focus her attention:

I think it helped a lot. It helps by being focussed while you’re reading. Before, I don’t think I normally concentrate when I’m reading, but now I know that if I want to get more out of reading, I need to concentrate on the reading.

Elena made strong gains in reading comprehension (33 months) and accuracy (10 months). Her
reading rate decreased (5 months), but remained age appropriate.

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