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Stories in Schools: reading engagement report

Added 18 Nov 2019 | Updated 21 Nov 19

Read for Good commissioned the National Literacy Trust to evaluate the outcomes of their new pilot intervention, Stories in Schools.

Stories in Schools uses professional storytellers to deliver enjoyable literacy workshops targeted at reluctant or struggling readers over a six-week period, in particular pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) or pupil premium (PP). The programme aims to increase reading enjoyment and improve reading behaviour, motivating participants to read for pleasure in their own time.

This report evaluates the impact of the Stories in Schools pilot programme on the reading engagement of 440 pupils aged 9 to 13 in 11 schools (six primary schools and five secondary schools) across the UK during the 2018/19 academic year.

Our evaluation found that:

  • 4 in 5 (79.7%) of pupils who took part in Stories in Schools said that as a result of taking part in the workshops they now want to read more books, while more than three quarters (76.9%) felt more excited about reading and 7 in 10 (71.4%) better at writing their own stories.
  • Compared with their peers who had not taken part in Stories in Schools, pupils who took part in the six-week intervention ended the period with increased levels of reading engagement. Furthermore, while participating pupils’ reading enjoyment remained stable until the end of the academic year, levels of reading enjoyment declined over the same time period for their peers who didn’t take part in the programme.
  • In addition, while their peers’ daily reading levels declined over the course of the year (31.0% to 25.1%), daily reading levels for pupils who took part in Stories in Schools remained stable (27.8% to 26.5%).
  • There is some indication that older pupils (those aged 11 to 14) and reluctant readers benefited in particular from taking part in Stories in Schools. For example, while non-participating pupils didn’t show any change over time, more pupils who started Stories in Schools as reluctant readers said that they read for at least 10 minutes at the end of the intervention.

Participating teachers also reported positive experiences and perceptions of Stories in Schools:

  • All teachers agreed that Stories in Schools had demonstrated how this specialist programme could engage reluctant readers.
  • 87.5% reported an increase in participating pupils’ reading motivation, while 37.5% felt pupils enjoyed reading more and were more confident writers.

These findings indicate that the resources and support from professional storytellers provided by the programme had a positive and lasting impact on participating pupils’ literacy.

Find out more about Stories in Schools by contacting Read for Good.

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