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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 looks at success factors and areas for development; with accompanying case studies from participating schools.

Key conclusions

Learning professionals reported that Reading Schools had a significant impact. Pupils had become more interested in reading and were enjoying reading more. They had also observed an 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. 

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

Reading Schools had also contributed to development of a reading culture in schools, and supported professional development. All school staff taking part in the evaluation felt that Reading Schools helped staff to recognise the value of reading for pleasure.

Download the full report

'One particular child really struggled with being in school and understanding the demands of everyday school life. When our library spaces were fully developed, this child absolutely loved the safe, calm and relaxing environment and used it every day. I would say that as a result of Reading Schools this child was much happier, safer and willing to engage in his learning.' – Head teacher

'Polish children within our school are now given opportunities to come together to speak in their first language using books to support discussions and to structure sessions. The families of the children are delighted that the children's cultural language is being recognised and valued. Prior to Reading Schools, there were no opportunities for these children to come together. One P7 boy who has autistic tendencies is usually found on his own in the playground and limits his social interactions with others. As lead of this group, we have seen him much more expressive and smile when he is in the group!' – Principal teacher

'Children are calm and more ready to learn after reading for pleasure. They are settled and more able to focus.' – Principal teacher

Infographic: 84% reported that pupils enjoyed reading more as a result of taking part in the programme

Infographic quotation: 'A P7 boy who lives in one of the more socially-deprived areas of the the village had very little interest in reading. We have struggled throughout his primary years to engage him, and this has impacted his attainment and opportunities for success. The drive to increase library membership is what has impacted him. He lives near the library, so he now gets off the bus a stop early and visits the library regularly on his way from schol. He loves to show his latest new book and the increase in the amount he reads has been significant. He is 'hooked'. This in turn has increased his attainment and he is now reading at expected levels and is in a strong position for moving on to find success in high school.' said by a Head Teacher

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 send an email to (this will open in a new window)