Chatterbooks: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

Rebecca Clarkson, Ben Styles, Katherine Fowler

01 May 2014

This NFER report has been produced for the Education Endowment Foundation and its evaluation of the Chatterbooks reading scheme. Chatterbooks is an extracurricular reading initiative, developed by the Reading Agency, that aims to increase a child’s motivation to read by providing tools and resources to encourage reading for pleasure. The intervention developed for this trial was delivered in schools, and consisted of nine weekly one hour sessions where the pupils read and discussed an age-appropriate book. For some pupils, a dialogic reading component was included in the session (Chatterbooks Plus). The programme was delivered to Year 7 pupils who had not reached a secure Level 4 in English at the end of Key Stage 2. Intervention delivery took place from April to June 2013, and the project ran from January to October 2013. The programme was delivered by trained graduates at Coventry University who had received training from the Reading Agency and Professor Clare Wood (for the dialogic reading component). NFER was responsible for a number of trial activities including the production of the final report.

Key Findings

  • There was no evidence of impact of either Chatterbooks or Chatterbooks Plus on reading ability.
  • The process evaluation indicates that schools encountered problems with timetabling, planning and resourcing, which make the intervention unsuitable in its current format.
  • If implementing this intervention with low-achieving pupils, it would be important to find a way of increasing motivation to mitigate behavioural issues.
  • The dialogic reading component of Chatterbooks Plus could be expanded and trialled separately.
  • To make Chatterbooks more suitable for a school setting, it would be important to consider how sessions that focus on reading for pleasure can be developed to demonstrate impact on reading ability.

Related Titles

Chatterbooks  , Catch Up® Numeracy , How to… Run randomised controlled trials (RCTs) , Rhythm for Reading