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Independent evaluations of the Reading Schools programme.

Woman reading a book to a group of children

The Reading Schools programme was piloted in 2019 and is now a nationwide accreditation programme that aims to help schools build and sustain a reading culture. Independent evaluations examine the programme's impact on learners, learning professionals and schools. They look at success factors and areas for development; with accompanying case studies from participating schools.

Key conclusions

Reading Schools has demonstrably contributed to the development of a reading culture in schools.

Learning professionals reported that Reading Schools had a significant impact for both pupils and schools staff. Pupils had become more interested in reading and were enjoying reading more. There was an observable increase in the level of reading for pleasure, particularly for boys, for pupils with additional support needs and for pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. All school staff taking part in the evaluation felt that Reading Schools helped staff to recognise the value of reading for pleasure.

Respondents from across primary and secondary schools also said that reading helped to settle classes, build empathy and support the development of new friendships.

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With Reading Schools, participating schools reported: pupils became confident in reading choices, could choose and find books they enjoy, identify as readers and now enjoy reading -connect with others around reading

“It’s changed the mindset for a lot of children and they now share a love of reading. That’s the project’s legacy. The impact will be long-term.” Principal teacher, primary

88% of schools said the Reading Schools programme contributed to improved attainment.  93% said it contributed to reducing or closing the poverty related attainment gap.

As a result of implementing the Reading Schools programme, schools reported a staggering increase in reading for pleasure: 90% among socioeconomically disadvantaged pupils, 94% among pupils with additional support needs, 96% among pupils who were not previously enthusiastic readers, 68% among pupils with English as a second language

Schools talked in particular about the impact of reading for pleasure in supporting positive wellbeing: it provided a calm and peaceful environment for children to regulate their emotions, it helped children learn how to express themselves and have a voice to share their passions and some were using reading as calm time during or shortly after breaks and lunch, to help pupils to manage their emotions.

“We have seen an improvement in our reading attainment across the school and pupils are enjoying reading and choosing to read.” Class teacher, primary

Reading Schools' evaluation reports

You can download the full evaluation reports and case studies for the Reading Schools programme below.

Accessibility note: if you require any of the below reports in an alternative format, please email (this will open in a new window)