Education Endowment Foundation:Teacher Choices: The Story Time Trial

Teacher Choices: The Story Time Trial

Implementation costThe cost estimates in the Toolkits are based on the average cost of delivering the intervention. 
Evidence strengthThis rating provides an overall estimate of the robustness of the evidence, to help support professional decision-making in schools.Not given for this trial
Impact (months)The impact measure shows the number of additional months of progress made, on average, by children and young people who received the intervention, compared to similar children and young people who did not.
Project info

Independent Evaluator

NFER logo

Teacher Choices’ trial in which two different approaches to structuring whole-class reading in Year 4 and 5 classes were explored.

Pupils: 7783 Schools: 91
Key Stage: 2 Type of Trial: Teacher Choices
Completed May 2024

Teacher Choices trials explore some of the most common questions teachers ask about their practice, testing the everyday choices teachers make when planning their lessons and supporting their students.

Story Time was the second classroom-based Teacher Choices’ trial. The key aims of this trial were to ascertain the feasibility of running such trials in schools and to provide recommendations for future similar projects.

In this trial, two different approaches to structuring whole-class reading in Year 4 and 5 classes were explored. The trial compared using 15 minutes of whole-class reading time to either read continuously to children (‘GO!’) or to read with interruptions for questions about the text (‘STOP!’). Schools were randomly assigned STOP! or GO! condition and the teachers within Year 4 and 5 read aloud to the whole class using the same book – The Iron Woman – for 15 minutes per day for three weeks.

NFER, who ran this trial, and EEF also produced a summary document for teachers outlining this approach, which can be found at the bottom of this page.

The rationale for testing these approaches was that the first approach (GO!) was thought to promote enjoyment of the text and also enable children to be exposed to more text and vocabulary, while the second approach (STOP!) was thought to provide children with time for reflection as well as modelling the kind of questions that experienced readers ask themselves during reading. This was an area teachers felt genuine equipoise over what was best with their classes.

As this was a feasibility trial, the main research questions focused on how feasible this new methodology was for the EEF to deploy to answer questions about common teaching practices. The results were promising: recruitment to the trial was successful and adherence to the condition teachers were assigned was high.

The STOP! condition fit more closely with usual practice and was the more successful approach to reading, according to a text-aligned reading and listening comprehension test. The effect size was 0.208. We did not assign the outcome a security rating. There was no evidence that either approach had a larger impact than the other on pupils’ wider reading comprehension skills, engagement in reading lessons, confidence in reading or liking of reading after the 3‑week intervention period.