Access to Reading and Parental Engagement at St John Fisher Catholic Primary School

Key Findings

This case study explores the successful implementation of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at St John Fisher Catholic Primary School. With 571 pupils, an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating and below-average Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility coupled with above-average reading age. By introducing Reading Hub, the school aimed to increase reading engagement, reading for pleasure, and parental involvement in reading activities. A controlled study compared two Year 6 classes: one using Reading Hub (intervention group) and the other using traditional reading methods (control group).

The findings showed that the class using Reading Hub increased the average reading for pleasure time by 66% and the average number of books read per month by 125%. Additionally, average reading age increased by 28%, with FSM-eligible pupils increasing by 17%. 92% of parents in the intervention group preferred using the Reading Hub over traditional methods. The study demonstrated positive impacts, particularly among FSM-eligible pupils, in the intervention group using Reading Hub.

School Objectives

  • Ensure equitable access to a diverse range of reading materials for all pupils.
  • Enhance reading engagement and proficiency, with a focus on FSM-eligible pupils.
  • Enable teachers to monitor and support pupils’ reading engagement effectively.
  • Foster increased parental engagement in their children’s reading.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study illustrates how the introduction of Reading Hub at St John Fisher Catholic Primary School led to notable improvements in reading engagement and parental involvement, contributing to the school’s ongoing success.

Current Challenges:

  • Continuous Improvement: Despite its exemplary status, the school recognised the importance of ongoing development.
  • Access to Reading Materials: Ensuring all pupils had quality reading materials at home was a key focus.
  • Parental Engagement: Engaging parents further in their children’s reading was a challenge.
  • Additional Resources: Providing extra resources to support reading beyond the classroom was necessary.

Implementation Process:

  • Control Group Study Design: Two Year 6 classes of the same size and cohort participated in the study. One class was given access to Reading Hub while the other maintained their regular reading schedule, using paper reading logs and weekly visits to the school library.
  • Mobile App for Pupils: Pupils gained access to the Reading Hub mobile app, allowing them to choose from a vast selection of 3000 eBooks accessible both in school and at home.
  • Web App for Teachers: Educators used the web app to access reading materials, monitor reading engagement, and provide targeted support to pupils.
  • Onboarding and Training: Teachers received thorough training on utilising Reading Hub effectively, while parents were equipped with guidance on supporting their children’s reading at home.

Method of Testing:

  • Reading Age: Pupils’ reading ages were measured termly throughout the academic year using standardised reading assessments. Each term, both the intervention group (using Reading Hub) and the control group (following traditional reading methods) underwent these assessments to track progress. This approach allowed for a detailed comparison of reading age improvements between the two groups. 
  • Reading Engagement: Reading engagement was measured for the control group by tracking time spent reading, the number of books read, and pupil enjoyment through self-reported surveys. The control group used paper reading logs maintained by teachers and parents to do this. The intervention group’s reading engagement was collected via Reading Hub’s engagement dashboard.

Problems Faced:

  • The school addressed the issue of digital access by providing loaner devices to ensure all pupils could utilise Reading Hub.
  • Initial resistance was overcome through comprehensive training, highlighting the benefits of the provided engagement dashboard and reading materials.


  • The intervention group demonstrated substantial improvements: the average time spent reading for pleasure in a week increased by 66%. These pupils went from reading 90 minutes a week to 150 minutes. In contrast, the control group saw a more modest increase, from 90 minutes to 95 minutes.
  • Average number of books read per month per pupil in the intervention group increased by 125%, rising from 4 books to 9 books, while the control group stayed the same at 4 books per month.
  • Within a year, the average reading age increased by 28% in the intervention group, compared to a 6% increase in the control group. FSM-eligible demonstrated a 17% improvement in reading age, effectively closing the gap with their peers.
  • Surveys and interviews revealed heightened enthusiasm for reading among pupils, with 90% of parents in the intervention group reporting increased involvement in their children’s reading activities due to the digital reading log. This is significantly higher compared to 55% in the control group.
  • 92% of parents in the intervention group preferred using the Reading Hub over traditional methods. Parents stated that Reading Hub “changed the way we feel about reading at home” and made their children “more confident with reading.”


The implementation of Reading Hub at St John Fisher Catholic Primary School resulted in improvements in reading engagement and parental involvement. By addressing the challenge of access to books and fostering a culture of reading, the school improved its already outstanding educational environment. The controlled study demonstrated the clear benefits of Reading Hub compared to traditional reading methods, highlighting its potential for further educational institutions.