Castle Hill Junior School Case Study

From September 2022 until July 2023, Castle Hill Junior School, in Suffolk, trialled Literacy Gold with some of our readers working not at age related expectations. The pupils enjoyed doing the intervention and the results were impressive, with 33 out of 35 pupils improving their reading: 23 by 12 months or more. At the end of the year, 16 of the 35 pupils were no longer behind in reading. On average, reading age improved by 18 months and reading comprehension by 16 months.

Feedback from Castle Hill Dyslexia Specialist TA

“It has been great to take part in the 100% Reading Project and we have seen great results with most of our children. We have used it across years 3, 4, 5 and 6 with about 35 children over the school year. Some children only completed a term whilst others have done a whole year. Doing assessments termly for the trial did help to decide who we could take on and off the intervention. I noticed some children only needed a term to boost their reading age, while others did a term but showed little progress and it took two terms for them to show an improvement. Most children that stopped the program have maintained their reading ages.

We have seen some amazing results with children going up in reading age by up to 2 years in one term. There are still some children that may never fully catch up to their age, those with low literacy or with other SEN and behavioural challenges. I liked the range of activities in the program which reflects in my teaching of a dyslexia intervention and uses the multisensory repetitive approach. The activity, changing words to other words, has definitely improved children's phonological awareness. The manipulation of phonemes in words, and syllable division, breaking words into smaller chunks, is important too.

Watching the children you can see which areas they find difficult, one area a lot of children found hard was sorting words into long and short vowel sounds which we could explain in more depth to the children. When starting the program we found it easier to introduce a few children at a time to explain how Literacy Gold worked.

Overall it has been a great trial with some amazing results in the children's reading scores and we will subscribe next year.”

Trial Results

22 Key Stage 2 pupils at Castle Hill Junior School, whose reading was behind their chronological age, were selected to play Literacy Gold in September. During the year another 13 pupils were added to the intervention groups, and 10 pupils were taken off due to no longer being behind in reading. The pupils played for 20 to 30 minutes, 4 days a week, in groups of 10-12 supervised by 2 teaching assistants. The pupils used a Chromebook and wore headphones. Almost all of the pupils made significant progress. According to the New Salford Sentence Reading Test (SSRT), 33 out of 35 pupils’ reading improved; 31 pupils improved by 6 months or more and 23 by 12 months or more. Almost all of the pupils also improved their reading comprehension. 33 of the 35 pupils' comprehension improved, according to the SSRT. 26 pupils' comprehension improved by 6 months or more and 21 pupils improved by 12 months or more.

Individual pupil stories

A pupil in year 5 with ASD finds reading very challenging and has been at our school for 2 terms. Previously he had very poor attendance. He started Literacy Gold in March 2023 with a Reading age of 4 years 9 months unable to read many words. He was reluctant to come out of class initially, but once he started playing he was eager to carry on. After playing for one term he improved by 7 months. His reading age is still a long way behind as he is in year 5 but enjoyed coming to the Literacy Gold intervention and it was very effective. He will be continuing next year in year 6.

A year 4 pupil with dyslexia has been at the school since reception and has had many other interventions including daily phonics. At the start of year 4 his reading age was 5 years and 1 month. He finds concentrating for long on tasks very difficult but we found he could concentrate well on the activities in Literacy Gold and was keen to come and play. Over 3 terms he has improved his reading age by 35 months he is now only 11 months below his chronological age and his self confidence in his reading has also improved.

A child with EAL joined our school in April 2022 from another country. She was given other interventions including phonics and reading support but showed little improvement. She started Literacy Gold in March 2023, she really loved playing the games and coming to the intervention. Her reading age improved by 2 years 7 months in 1 term, she has now exceeded her chronological age.

Christine Strong
Dyslexia Specialist TA
Castle Hill Infant and Junior Schools