Following the news that the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has commissioned an efficacy trial of HFL Education’s KS2 Reading Fluency Project, (funded through the Department for Education’s Accelerator Fund), the Primary English team at HFL Education reflect on the journey of the project since its launch in 2017.
Then, as now, schools recognised the need to invest in training that would yield long term benefits. Even then, money was tight (albeit comparatively abundant in light of today’s financial situation) and time available for CPD had to be used wisely. Schools needed to know their investment would pay off, not just in the short term for the current cohort, but for pupils in months and years to come. But is it realistic to think that 6 years on from the launch of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project, those early adopter schools will still be seeing the benefit of their investment? In this blog, we reflect on the journey of HFL Education’s Reading Fluency Project from 2017 to the present day, and share insights from those schools who joined us at the very start of our reading fluency adventure.
If you would like to find out more about the trial of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project taking place in autumn 2024, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our webpage KS2 Reading Fluency Project: Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) funded trial.
Reading fluency in 2017
It’s hard to imagine that back when the KS2 Reading Fluency Project was launched, some words which now form part of our daily discourse were not part of our vocabulary. In 2017, Corona was simply a brand of beer; no one referred to a UK break as a ‘stay-cation’ and the words ‘deep’ and ‘dive’ were yet to be conjoined and used within the context of education (first introduced in 2019 if you’re interested). Likewise, the term ‘reading fluency’ was, in UK schools at least, rarely encountered (in the US, thanks to pioneering educators like Professor Tim Rasinski, ‘reading fluency’ was however becoming a hot topic: read Why Reading Fluency Should be Hot, published in The Reading Teacher in May 2012).
Despite the limited discourse surrounding reading fluency, several Hertfordshire schools were willing to invest precious time and energy in piloting an intervention designed by HFL Education’s Primary English team, based on strategies advocated by leading educationalist, Professor Tim Rasinski.
KS2 Reading Fluency Project: pilot schools
With thanks to schools who piloted the KS2 Reading Fluency Project in summer 2017:
Summerswood Primary School, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
Reedings Junior School, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire
De Havilland Primary School, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Beechfield School, Watford, Hertfordshire
Woodhall Primary School, Watford, Hertfordshire
Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy re-reading one of our earliest blogs on this topic reflecting on the success and learning from our early pilots: Early Findings from the KS2 Reading Fluency Project (published October 2017).
Ready to launch: round 1 of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project (autumn 2017)
The pilot was incredibly successful and was followed swiftly by the launch of the project in autumn 2017. Nineteen schools joined us for that first round. As anticipated, pupils made impressive progress across the 8-week intervention: on average, 2 years 6 months progress in reading comprehension in just 8 weeks (measured using the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension YARC; pre and post analysis).
Since 2017, the HFL team have worked with hundreds of schools to support thousands of pupils to mirror this progress: the current average progress (across 2200 pupil data sets) is 2 years 3 months improvement in comprehension age (KS2 Reading Fluency Project: impact and outcomes).
Reading Fluency Project: making partnerships and spreading the word!
Recognising the significance of this work, we sought to develop partnerships to share the knowledge we had gained; we have since developed successful collaborations with a host of delivery partners across the UK including English Hubs, Research Schools, Local Authorities, educational thought leaders and other school improvement organisations to ensure this work reaches as many pupils as possible.
We would like to offer thanks to those organisations and individuals who saw value in this work and have supported us to spread this learning far and wide.
Expanding our suite of Reading Fluency Projects
We quickly realised that the strategies used as part of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project had potential to impact progress for struggling readers in other year groups. HFL Education’s phase specialists got to work and over time we have added to our suite of interventions, creating bespoke versions of the project for pupils in KS1, KS3 and KS4, each securing equally impressive outcomes.
Outcomes of HFL Education’s Reading Fluency Projects
Outcomes of the KS1 Reading Fluency Project:
17 months progress in reading comprehension age*, including:
• 76% of pupils with more than six months of progress;
Outcomes of the KS3 Reading Fluency Project:
18 months progress in reading comprehension age*
Outcomes of the KS4 Reading Fluency Project:
• 2 years and 8 months progress in reading comprehension age*.
Read about the early success of the KS4 Reading Fluency Project, trialled in autumn 2022 and launched in autumn 2023: KS4 Reading Fluency Project flexes its muscles…for the reading win
*Progress measured as difference in months between pre and post assessment, using GL Assessment’s York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC)
Reading Fluency Project: powerful partnerships
We are incredibly proud that this year, we gained the support of educator and author, Hon. Stuart Lawrence, who shares our passion to ensure that all children, regardless of background, have access to high quality education and equal opportunities.
We have been so grateful to welcome Stuart’s support to reach out to even more schools and pupils; and we are delighted that participants in the autumn 2023 round of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project have had the opportunity to meet Stuart and to share his book, 'Silence is Not An Option: You Can Impact the World for Change' with their pupils.
Reading Fluency Project: long-term legacy
Now, as we stand on the brink of a national trial of the KS2 project, we have returned to those early adopter schools, and sought feedback on whether an intervention launched 6 years ago can still yield positive outcomes. It has been fascinating and insightful to hear their reflections:
"One thing that we as a school have really taken from the Fluency project is the investment in teaching children how to improve their prosody. Fluent reading has become an integral part of the way we teach. It is securely embedded in our GR curriculum, where we teach echo reading, text marking, phrasing etc, but you also see it across the school. Whenever a child is reading out loud there is a focus on their fluency and how it sounds: are they using the punctuation? Can they hear the rhythm of the words?"
Claire Sargeant, Reading Lead, Mandeville Primary School, St Albans, Hertfordshire
"We still use the Reading Fluency Project at Bromet Primary, mainly in upper KS2. All KS2 TAs have run the project and we use the YARC to measure impact. We also have an Intervention Specialist who takes a lead on the project and is a ‘go to’ to discuss best-practice in relation to delivery of the intervention. Since starting the project it has had a significant impact on outcomes.
We have successfully taken on some of the principles into whole class Guided Reading."
Maria Pace, Headteacher, Bromet Primary School
“Being part of the first wave of schools to pilot the HfL Reading Fluency Project seems like such a long time ago. Echo reading, prosody and text marking seemed like such alien concepts at the time - compared to now, where the strategies are so naturally woven into the daily teaching of reading in all areas of the curriculum. Reading fluency and the strategies applied within it are utilised by teachers through a hybrid approach to guided reading lessons. Teachers use the strategies of echo reading to model new and trickier texts with the whole class to help unpick new vocabulary and establish deeper meaning. Teachers may then choose to use further strategies such as text marking with targeted pupils to help further aid their comprehension. Echo reading isn’t only for guided reading lessons and can now be seen (and heard!) in the reading of a biography about Mary Anning in science or in a history lesson reading Greek myths.
Reading fluency is transformative for those reluctant readers to succeed in a safe and supportive space.”
Nicky Murphy, Deputy Headteacher and English Subject Leader
Introducing HFL Education’s Reading Fluency Project: Maintenance Package
We hope that schools that have participated in the Reading Fluency Project go on to reap the rewards of their efforts well beyond the initial project period; we are delighted that so many schools have embedded this intervention into their curriculum offer. However, we know from talking to many schools that maintaining the intervention with fidelity can be challenging.
With this in mind, we have created a ‘Reading Fluency Project (RFP) Maintenance Package’, designed to support schools to maintain effective, on-going delivery and implementation of this important work.
Included in the ‘RFP – Maintenance Package’:
- A two-hour remote visit with a Reading Fluency Project adviser from HFL Education
This session is designed for the Reading/English Subject Leader – or the person responsible for on-going implementation of the intervention in the school. During the session, the HFL adviser will work collaboratively with the leader to complete an audit designed to identify areas of strength in relation to on-going Reading Fluency Project delivery and areas that require further focus/development. Following the session, the Subject Leader will have a clear understanding of what is working, and what needs to be done to strengthen practice to ensure the school continues to replicate the incredible results achieved through initial project participation.
- Access to 6 places on the following training course: HFL Reading Fluency Project – A synopsis for Key Stage 1 & 2
This online training provides participants with an overview of the transformational strategies used in the HFL Reading Fluency Project. This training is ideally suited to past project participants who wish to refresh their knowledge without re-engaging in the full project, and/or to schools that have previously participated in the project and wish to offer training to their wider teaching teams, including ECTs and new starters as part of their induction.
This training runs termly so schools will have a choice of when they choose to use their 6 places.
The cost of the RFP-Maintenance Package is £570 (+VAT) (please note the standard single-delegate charge for attendance at the synopsis training is £160, so this price represents significant value).
Details of future rounds of HFL Education’s Reading Fluency Projects
If you would like to express an interest in taking part in the EEF trial of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project, please contact email@example.com
If you are interested in signing up for one of our key stage projects, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate which project you are interested in joining.
Please note below the project rounds available over the next few terms:
KS1 Reading Fluency Project – FULLY BOOKED
KS2 Reading Fluency Project – FULLY BOOKED
KS3 Reading Fluency Project – currently accepting bookings (limited availability)
KS4 Reading Fluency Project – not running in spring 2024
KS1 Reading Fluency Project – currently accepting bookings (limited availability)
KS2 Reading Fluency Project – currently accepting bookings (limited availability)
KS3 Reading Fluency Project – currently accepting bookings
KS4 Reading Fluency Project – currently accepting bookings
KS1 Reading Fluency Project – not running in autumn 2024
KS2 Reading Fluency Project – EEF trial (only open to schools participating in the EEF trial)
KS3 Reading Fluency Project – bookings will open in summer 24
KS4 Reading Fluency Project – bookings will open in summer 2
With thanks to schools who joined us for Round 1 of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project in autumn 2017:
Ashfield Junior School, Bushey, Hertfordshire
Dundale Primary & Nursery School, Tring, Hertfordshire
Knebworth Primary and Nursery School, Hertfordshire
The Grange Academy, Bushey, Hertfordshire
Highwood Primary School, Bushey, Hertfordshire
Meryfield Community Primary School, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
Pixmore Junior School, Letchworth, Hertfordshire
St Peter's CE VA Primary School, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
Bonneygrove Primary School, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire
Yorke Mead Primary School, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
Bromet Primary School, Watford, Hertfordshire
St Meryl School, Watford, Hertfordshire
St Cuthbert Mayne Catholic Junior School, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
Shepherd Primary, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
St Joseph Catholic Primary School, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire
St John's Catholic Primary School, Mill End, Hertfordshire
Mandeville Primary School, St Albans, Hertfordshire
Millbrook Primary School, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire