TEN more schools have signed up to take part in the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign.

The Oxford Mail-backed campaign, run by the National Literacy Trust, aims to boost literacy levels, improve results and foster a love of reading.

That takes the total taking part in the programme, which includes targeted reading interventions and a volunteer programme, to 55.

The number falls short of the organisation’s initial goals, and acting programme manager Wendy Tyrrell admitted she was disappointed more had not taken the opportunity to get involved.

However, she remained confident it would deliver results.

She said: “It is a smaller number signing up this time around and it would have been nice to have more.

“Obviously we were aiming to have more, and had the capacity.

“What it will allow us to do is give more quality support to the schools on the programme.”

She anticipated more would join in September, saying some schools may have already spent their budget or implemented their own reading intervention programmes.

Initially, 81 focus schools were invited to join, and 43 decided to sign up, along with two non-focus schools which planned to pay for the training.

In February it was thrown open to all Oxfordshire primaries. To make a countywide difference the trust will need to work with about 400 children.

Data from half the schools taking part indicates 150 of their children are on the scheme. If similar numbers are involved at the other schools, 300 children have so far been through the programme.

Each school gave children phonics tests at the beginning and end of the 10-week programme, information which will be fed back to the National Literacy Trust next week.

The true success of the scheme will be revealed in October, when Key Stage 2 results are published.

The goal is for 80 per cent of pupils to achieve at least a Level 2b in reading, a six per cent rise on last year’s figures.

Ms Tyrrell said: “It is a bit nerve-wracking because we won’t know whether we have met the targets until the round is finished.

“We are trying to encourage the schools to put forward as many pupils as possible, and a lot of them have identified quite large numbers of pupils.

“I think we probably have a way to go, but we are more likely to be on target by the end of this term.”

Oxfordshire County Council education cabinet member Melinda Tilley was confident about the scheme’s success.

She said: “I am disappointed more didn’t take it up. However, I think it’s such a good reading scheme that the results will be better this year.

“I didn’t think we would see improvement for another couple of years.

“I believe it really is making a difference and it will definitely show in the results.”