The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) funded trial aims to test the impact of Reading Plus, an online reading development programme, on reading fluency and comprehension.
This project will be delivered to Year 5 pupils (ages 9 to 10) over the academic year 2024-25 (approximately 28 weeks). Schools are expected to deliver the Reading Plus programme for 90 minutes a week, broken down into one of the following options:
- Two weekly sessions (45 minutes each)
- Or, three weekly sessions (30 minutes each)
- Or, shorter daily sessions (15-20 minutes each)
Teachers and teaching assistants supervise pupils in accessing the online platform during lesson time.
Who is funding this project?
EEF is an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. They do this by supporting schools, colleges, and early years settings to improve teaching and learning through better use of evidence.
Reading Plus has been extensively implemented in England. Several small-scale and developer-led studies have reported positive impacts of Reading Plus on pupil outcomes. EEF is funding this large randomised controlled trial, aiming to provide a robust estimate of the impact of Reading Plus on Y5 pupils’ reading outcomes
How will the project be trialled?
This project will be evaluated by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) through a randomised controlled trial, randomised at the school level. This means that your school will be assigned to deliver either the programme (treatment group) or the control group.
Why take part?
- All schools participating in this study will help us build the evidence base about what works well to improve reading fluency and reading comprehension.
- Participating schools will be informed of their allocation to either the ‘treatment’ or ‘control’ group in July 2024.
- Treatment schools will receive Reading Plus. The control group does not implement the programme but involves their pupils in the same testing to provide a comparison group essential for the evaluation.
- All schools participating in the project (treatment and control group schools) will receive data from the New PiRA reading test for all Year 5 pupils, administered in the summer of 2025.
- All schools participating will also be eligible for a discount on a three-year Reading Plus licence upon the trial’s completion.
Benefits of taking part
Schools allocated to the treatment group will:
- Receive a year-long subscription to Reading Plus at a heavily discounted rate, £500 + VAT.
- Access Reading Plus for the Summer after the trial period has ended.
- Receive free training and support from Reading Solutions UK’s Reading Development Consultants and Customer Support Team for the duration of their licence.
Schools allocated to the control group will:
- Not use Reading Plus in KS2 during the academic year 2024-25.
- Receive a £750 ‘thank-you’ payment on completing evaluation requirements.
Which schools are eligible to take part in this trial?
To be eligible for inclusion in the trial, schools must meet all the following criteria:
- Your school is a state-maintained primary, junior, middle or all-through school in England.
- Your school has not held a KS2 Reading Plus programme licence in the 12 months prior to delivery (academic year 2023-24).
- Your school is not involved in an EEF-funded trial targeting pupils and teachers in year 5 (2024-25).
- We prefer that schools do not have mixed age group classes for literacy instruction. If your school does and you are interested in this project, let us know, and you may be added to a recruitment waitlist.
- Your school can provide one-to-one access to a device (PC, laptop, tablet, etc.) so that a whole class of pupils can participate in Reading Plus and can complete online assessments (reading test, questionnaire) at the end of the intervention (June/July 2025).
- Your school will be able to timetable whole class use of Reading Plus for 90 minutes per week, broken down as 3 x 30-minute or 2 x 45-minute sessions.
In addition, we prefer that schools not participate in any other EEF trial in 2024-25 as this may affect their ability to engage with this project. If you are participating in another EEF trial and are interested in this project, please let us know which trial this is at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may be added to a recruitment waitlist.
Complete the Expression of Interest form to be considered.
What is Reading Plus?
Guided by the most prominent reading and pedagogical research from the last 30 years, Reading Plus is a whole-class adaptive, online reading development programme. It is designed to:
- Develop fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension – bridging the gap between learning to read and reading to learn.
- Help KS2-KS4 students become better readers – it has a readability range from Year 2 to Year 11.
- Expose students to a diverse range of topical content in line with their ability.
How does Reading Plus work?
Pupils first sit an assessment that identifies their current level of reading proficiency and places them at the just-right level on the programme. They then self-select fiction, non-fiction, and informational texts from eight high-interest categories and practice their understanding by answering ten comprehension questions. These questions target the pupil’s knowledge and skill of inference, retrieval, summarising, and use of language. To develop fluency and stamina, pupils will see texts presented using the patented Guided Window – an adaptive tool to support reading efficiency.
Reading Plus automatically marks answers, providing instant feedback to pupils and reports for teachers on pupil progress. Teachers can administer summative assessments to evidence progression and see if pupils are below, at, or above year-level expectations and which pupils need additional support.
Benefits of Reading Plus
Reading Plus may benefit pupils in multiple ways by improving:
- Reading attainment – through developing comprehension, vocabulary, and silent reading fluency skills.
- Enjoyment of reading.
- The strength of eye muscles so that reading becomes more efficient.
Reading Plus may also benefit teachers by:
- Reducing workload.
- Improving their understanding of reading pedagogy, including the impact of silent reading fluency on fluency, stamina and comprehension.
- Providing immediate access to data that can support decision-making about differentiated support.