Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Secondary 3: A fairly small 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) Third quintile
GCSE English (national, 2013) Third quintile


The school bought into Rhythm for Reading after a successful trial period. They now use the programme to boost the reading skills of their Year 7 students.


The programme ran for a five-week period from October 2013 to December 2013 with thirty Year 8 students taught in three groups of ten. The sessions took place during tutor time. Each group took part in two ten-minute sessions each week for five weeks.


To measure the impact of the Rhythm for Reading intervention programme, twelve of the Year 8 students, who were receiving targeted academic support in school, were measured on oral reading using NARA before and after the five-week Rhythm for Reading programme. Ten students attended school on both testing dates. One of these students could not access the test, due to a very low level of spoken English. For this reason, the assessments of nine students have been summarised below.

Progress report

The average (mean) reading scores for the group showed a gain in both reading accuracy (5 months) and reading comprehension (6 months) and a small decrease in rate (1 month), following the five-week intervention programme. The standardised scores (Year 8) indicate that the rate of progress was faster than might have been expected.

Year 8 student voices


Prior to the five-week programme, the baseline assessment showed that Dianne’s reading accuracy and reading comprehension ages were more than 30 months behind her chronological age.

It’s a little better.

Substantial gains occurred in her reading accuracy (15 months) and comprehension (42 months). Her slower reading rate (21 months) reflects that she accessed more difficult passages of text following the programme. Dianne successfully read four passages of text in October, but managed six passages in December.


Before the programme, James’ reading rate, accuracy and comprehension ages were more than four years behind his chronological age.

It’s been easier. I understand more. It’s not as difficult as it used to be.

The follow-up assessment showed that improvements had occurred in his reading accuracy (7 months), reading comprehension (9 months) and reading rate (11 months) after the five-week programme.

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