Readathon works!

Since Readathon began in 1984, we’ve had countless reports from schools about how it motivated even the most reluctant of readers to pick up a book; and the fact that may schools run it year on year tells us that it ‘does what it says on the tin’! In 2018, we asked the National Literacy Trust to evaluate Readathon’s effectiveness as part of its annual literacy survey research conducted with 49,047 pupils – one of the biggest studies of its kind in the UK.

In 2017-18 the National Literacy Trust 2018 surveyed over 49,047 pupils and compared those who had and had not participated in Readathon. Regardless of gender, age group or whether or not they received free school meals, pupils who had taken part in a Readathon:

  • Enjoy reading more 
  • Are more likely to read something in their freetime daily
  • Read a wider variety of materials in their free time
  • Are more likely to agree that reading is cool
  • Are more likely to carry on reading even when they find it difficult
  • Are more likely to use the school library
  • Almost half of children on Free School Meals said they read more often having taken part in Readathon
  • Have higher life satisfaction scores – they are happier!
  • And 60% of all childen surveyed said that pupils would read more if it raised money for children in hospital

In addition, we evaluated schools who have run Readathon, and they have higher attainment levels than those who don’t, and those schools who run it year on year have the highest levels of attainment (The Education Company research 2016).

We also ask teachers and librarians who run Readathon to give us their feedback – 80% find reluctant readers read more and it motivates the whole class or school to read.

“That was so fun and made me feel great.” (Year 8 pupil)

“The challenge encourages keen readers to read more than ever before and it has even led reluctant readers to discover an appetite for stories.” Teacher

“Our primary school has taken part in two Readathons. This sponsored read has proved a valuable tool in our drive to create lifelong readers. We firmly believe, and much research has shown, that instilling a reading habit from childhood produces successful, empathetic adults, and at the same time we are serving our community by raising money to provide great books for children in hospitals.” Librarian