Rhythm for Reading - sustainable reading intervention for schools

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Case studies

Secondary 4: A fairly large secondary school in a rural market town

Fact file

Location South East
Setting Rural market town
Size Six form entry
Proportion of SEN Highest quintile
Pupils eligible FSM Third quintile
GCSE English (similar schools, 2013) Highest quintile
GCSE English (national, 2013) Second quintile


The school bought into Rhythm for Reading after a recommendation from a local school.


The programme ran for a ten-week period from April to July 2013 with sixty Year 7 students taught in 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 of the Year 7 students were selected by the assistant head teacher for individual reading assessment. The twelve were measured on oral reading using NARA before and after the ten-week Rhythm for Reading programme. Eleven students attended school on both testing dates.

Progress report

The average (mean) reading scores for the group showed gains in reading accuracy (5 months) and reading comprehension (18 months) and an increase in rate (1 month), following the ten-week intervention programme. The standardised scores for the Year 7 students indicate that the rate of progress was faster than might have been expected.

Year 7 student voices


Lisa read very quickly, but inaccurately before taking part in the programme. The baseline assessment showed that her reading accuracy and comprehension ages were more than three years behind her chronological age.

It’s a bit easier to read harder words.

The follow-up assessment showed that there were gains in reading accuracy (20 months) and comprehension (31 months), but her reading rate slowed down (20 months) as she had progressed onto reading age-appropriate passages in the follow-up test.


Prior to the Rhythm for Reading intervention programme, the baseline test showed that Robert read very quickly and reasonably accurately, yet his reading comprehension age was 26 months behind his chronological age.

I’ve noticed that when I read I concentrate more….When you look at words carefully, it gets you with the words. You learn the words that you don’t often say….Before, I could not read with the books because it’s too hard to read, but now I can just read it It’s fine!. I’m reading in lesson, it’s completely changed!

Robert made substantial gains in his reading behaviour following the programme. The follow-up assessment showed that in reading comprehension he improved sharply (>33 months) reaching the ceiling of the reading test, even though his reading accuracy score remained unchanged. His reading rate improved slightly.

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