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The Success of the Hudson Expanded Adventure Reading Tournament (H.E.A.R.T.)

An excerpt from the second edition of the H.E.A.R.T Handbook:

When the H.E.A.R.T. programme was initially piloted, feedback suggested that teachers were somewhat caught off-guard by its success in terms of its reception by the children.

Within the first fortnight, over 90% of children had succeeded in dramatically boosting the volume of their reading.

The percentage of those who from that point maintained an increase in reading volume was maintained for the next two months, tailing off to 60% in the last week since most children were then reading at something like 'cruising speed' within their lifestyles and schedules, and were having to be inventive to try and find more reading time.

Reports came in from parents that children who had formerly hated reading or read little if at all were becoming difficult to prise away from books when at home and were often reading in the car on the way to school to try and boost their points! This was anticipated, and is to be expected. To reach King or Queen and be crowned is supposed to be a real achievement, attained through ingenuity as well as consistent loyalty to the programme.

At the end of first term, approximately 40% reached the rank of Earl, while the rest hovered at Viscount level. This meant that all the children had successfully and substantially increased the volume they were reading consistently over the term, with no exceptions.

Most importantly, they had tremendous fun doing it and felt personally involved in the game and very self-determined about reading, which was the intention of the programme -ensuring that educators have a basis of consistent, resistance-free reading in their children upon which to build. It was estimated that there were less than 5% of children requiring distinct help to proceed further by the time the programme was done.

The creative aspect of the programme -the games the children get to play, the ‘privileges’ they earn with each rise in rank, the inter-Order competitions, and so on- all need to be kept fresh and appealing to that age group or the Tournament will flag, but that is where individual creativity and teacher-ingenuity come in.

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