Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Chatterbooks is a book-club style extra-curricular activity for children, currently practiced in libraries across the country by the Reading Agency. Chatterbooks Plus takes the concept of Chatterbooks and adds a more rigid structure to the session. Chatterbooks and Chatterbooks Plus are being tried in secondary schools in order to see whether they can improve the reading ability of Year 7 students who have low literacy and/or reading abilities.

Who can participate?
Year 7 students with suitably poor reading/literacy skills can participate in this study.

What does the study involve?
Participants sat a reading ability test in March 2013, before being randomly allocated to either attend 10 sessions of Chatterbooks, Chatterbooks Plus, or to carry on with their normal school curriculum. In June 2013, the students sat another reading test to find out whether Chatterbooks and/or Chatterbooks Plus had improved reading/literacy levels above and beyond the improvement gained by the standard curriculum. The same children will take one further reading test in September 2013 in order to see whether Chatterbooks and/or Chatterbooks Plus has any effect on the normal decrease in literacy/reading abilities found over the summer holidays.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
It is hoped that Chatterbooks and/or Chatterbooks Plus will help the struggling children to increase their reading ability. There is, of course, the possibility that it will not provide any additional support and the children participating will not show an increase in their reading ability. There are no serious risks of taking part in this study.

Where is the study run from?
Coventry University (UK) is carrying out the study in secondary schools across Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull and Warwickshire, UK.

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study began in December 2012 and will finish in December 2013.

Who is funding the study?
The study is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (UK).

Who is the main contact?
Dr Ben Styles

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Ben Styles


Contact details

National Foundation for Educational Research
The Mere
Upton Park
United Kingdom
01753 637386

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Randomised trial of two reading programmes for 11-12 year olds considered to be ‘vulnerable’ Level 4 English achievers



Study hypothesis

Does the use of the Chatterbooks and/or Chatterbooks Plus reading schemes improve reading ability in 11 and 12 year-olds with low reading ability.

Ethics approval

The pattern of headteacher consent followed by parental opt-out consent was approved by Sarah on behalf of the Code of Practice Committee on 23rd Jan 2013

Study design

Randomised trial with baseline and two follow-up reading tests

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format; please use the contact details below to request participant information sheet and parental consent letter


Struggling readers / low literacy levels


Year 7 students randomised to either Chatterbooks, Chatterbooks Plus, or to carry on with their normal school curriculum.

Chatterbooks is an extra-curricular reading initiative designed and delivered by the Reading Agency that aims to increase children’s motivation to read. It consists of weekly small-group sessions, usually in a public or school library, where children read and discuss an age-appropriate, enjoyable book. The emphasis is on engaging children and encouraging creativity, rather than delivering instruction.

Chatterbooks Plus takes the basic Chatterbooks programme and adds a firmer structure to the session. Each session follows the “SPICE” sequence – a 5-step activity based around reading a book extract:

Share a text: Read aloud a section from a book.
Prediction: Discuss what might happen next.
Improve it: Suggest improvements to the story.
Cognitions: Ask questions about what particular characters might be thinking.
Emotions: Ask questions about what particular characters might be feeling.

This must then be followed by one of four activities.

Duration of intervention: 10 weeks of one lesson per week.
Two follow-up reading tests (June 2013 and September 2013)

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Overall reading ability as measured by the New Group Reading Test (NGRT) at baseline (March 2013), and at the post-tests (June 2013 and September 2013).

Secondary outcome measures

1. Reading ability (NGRT subsection)
2. Reading comprehension (NGRT subsection)

These measures come from the reading tests administered at baseline (March 2013), and at the post-tests (June 2013 and September 2013).

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

Year 7 pupils that were below National Curriculum level 4 in English and/or below level 4 in reading at the end of Key Stage 2, or pupils that are deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ Level 4 English achievers, as indicated by reading ages below that of a 10 year old.

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

450 minimum

Participant exclusion criteria

Reading age below 7. National Curriculum level 4 or above in English and reading at the end of Key Stage 2. Parental opt-out.

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

National Foundation for Educational Research
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Sponsor details

c/o Camilla Nevill
Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

1. 2015 results in

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes