Imagine your school without its reading scheme

3 min read

Imagine your school without its reading scheme. What would progress be like if they didn’t take books home to read to their parents in the evening? What’s more, the children didn’t read their own books – in fact, children had no access to literature at home (this is, incredibly, the reality in almost 10% of homes in the UK today¹). What would literacy standards be like if the only opportunity children had to read was in the 23.5 hours recommended contact time per week?

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In fact, you don’t need to imagine too hard – the National Literacy Trust have already done this for you. In their 2014 survey of children’s reading habits², they found that, of children who read for a few minutes daily outside class, only 4.2% fail to reach their expected reading level. In contrast, of children who don’t read outside class, a whopping 37.5% fail to reach their expected reading level. In other words, if you don’t read outside class, you are 9 times more likely to fail to reach your expected reading level. 

This is perhaps not surprising. But now consider that, right now, most children only access maths in the 23.5 hours a week, 39 weeks a year of contact time in school. For the other 82%³ of their waking time, outside of class, they don’t get the opportunity to do maths at all.

So imagine your school with a maths scheme. Every child working at the right level for them, and because of this, and a multitude of motivational features, it gets regularly used at home. They tend to do a few minutes of maths every day, which rapidly accumulates into hours per term. Embedded throughout the school, with children following it from Reception right through to Year 6, how would this impact on maths achievement?

DoodleMaths is such a maths scheme. Unlike books or worksheets, it requires almost no administration (no photocopying or marking, no distribution and retrieval of books, no sellotape, tippex, reordering or writing in reading diaries). It gives detailed, in-depth feedback of children’s level, strengths and weaknesses. Built for mobile, children can access it anywhere, and when in the habit, think nothing of filling in those dead minutes when stuck in the car on the school run or waiting for a sibling to finish their swimming lesson.

In May 2017, year 6 children with access to DoodleMaths had done, on average, 4720 targeted questions on DoodleMaths outside school, in their own time, over the previous 12 months. There’s plenty of evidence that this has an impact. A University of Bath study has shown that children using DoodleMaths for just 20 minutes weekly are 4x less likely to suffer summer learning loss. And our own studies have shown that in the first four weeks of using DoodleMaths (on average for 70 minutes per week), children’s independently-verified maths ages go up by an average of 3.5 months.

Personalised reading schemes have been embedded in our educational psyche for generations. I grew up with Peter and Jane; my kids are growing up with Biff, Chip and Kipper. Reading is important – vital skill. But so is maths – some would say, increasingly so. Isn’t it time we gave children the opportunity to follow a maths scheme outside of school as well?


  3. 23.5 x 39 = 916.5 hours contact time per year. 14 x 365= 5110 hours waking time per year. 916.5/5110 = 17.9% of waking time is school contact time.


Article by Tom Minor

Doodle empowers learners to achieve confidence in maths and English. Our intelligent technology creates individual work programmes which are motivational, affordable and convenient to use.