Changing the Story

A reading programme from Hachette UK and the National Literacy Trust with Reading Planet 


The Changing the Story Reading Programme began in 2020 as a programme for learners aged 4-7. Created by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Hachette UK, the aim is to improve early reading skills and develop a love of reading in disadvantaged schools in the UK. To support the initiative, Hodder Education has donated thousands of Reading Planet books, PiRA tests and provided free training for the participating schools. Now in its third year, Changing the Story has evolved to also help learners age 7+.


2022-2023 Key Findings

In 2022-2023, Changing the Story engaged 15 schools with high percentages of children in receipt of Free School Meals in areas with high literacy vulnerability. Pupils at risk of falling behind in their reading development were identified to take part in the programme.

Pupils' reading ability

Data from PiRA tests indicated significant improvement in pupils' reading ability over the course of the Changing the Story programme. 

  • Before taking part in the programme, on average, pupils' standardised score was 87.3. After taking part in the programme, this had increased to 96.7 for these pupils.

  • The percentage of pupils who were below the national average decreased from half (48.9%) at the start of the programme to 1 in 4 (23%) at the end.

Pupils' reading enjoyment

  • The percentage of pupils who said they enjoyed reading 'very much' doubled from 21.9% before taking part to almost half (46.9%) after taking part.

Benefits for the school

  • 6 out of 10 teachers agreed that their school has put more emphasis on developing higher order reading skills, since taking part in Changing the Story.

Feedback from the programme

  • All 10 teachers rated the Reading Planet scheme as either 'excellent' or 'good'.

  • All 10 teachers agreed that the books provided had a range of illustrations depicting different cultures and ethnicities.

2022-2023 Evaluation Report

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What children think of Changing the Story

2021-2022 Changing the Story Report

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About Reading Planet

Reading Planet is a whole-school reading scheme for ages 4-11. We work alongside experts, authors and partner schools to create reading books and teaching materials that children will truly enjoy!

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About the National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust is dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of those who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.

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