Book Accessibility and Parental Involvement at Churchfield Primary School

Key Findings

This case study examines the implementation of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at Churchfield Primary School. With 655 pupils, an ‘Requires Improvement’ Ofsted rating, above-average Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility, and below-average reading levels, the school aimed to improved accessibility to reading materials and strengthen the home-school connection. A controlled study comparing one class per year group using Reading Hub with the other classes using traditional reading methods demonstrated significant differences. The study was cut short due to the noticeable improvement in reading engagement from the classes using Reading Hub. After the first term, the school decided to provide all pupils with access to Reading Hub for the whole school year.

The findings showed that the intervention class using Reading Hub increased the average weekly reading time by 29% and a 50% increase in the average number of books read per month. Additionally, the average reading age in the intervention class increased by 25%, with FSM-eligible pupils showing a 30% improvement. Parental involvement also significantly improved in the intervention class, with 90% of parents reporting increased engagement. The study demonstrated positive impacts in the intervention group using Reading Hub.

School Objectives

  • Ensure all pupils have access to a wide range of books, both in school and at home.
  • Encourage pupils to spend more time reading and develop a lifelong love for reading.
  • Improve reading ages across all year groups.
  • Deepen parental involvement in pupils’ reading to support ongoing literacy development.

Aim of the Case Study

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

Current Challenges:

  • Access to Books: Providing enough books to meet the high demand from a large pupil population.
  • Meeting Individual Needs: Supporting pupils who are in the early stages of reading development.
  • Parental Engagement: Engaging parents in their children’s reading to enhance literacy support at home.
  • Engagement: Addressing the diverse reading levels and interests within each class.

Implementation Process:

  • Control Group Study Design: Each year group had one class with access to Reading Hub (intervention group) and one class following traditional reading methods (control group).
  • Mobile App for Pupils: Pupils in the intervention group accessed the Reading Hub mobile app, choosing 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 comprehensive training on effectively using Reading Hub, 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:

  • Ensuring all pupils had access to digital devices was a challenge. The school provided loaner devices to address this issue.
  • Some initial resistance from teachers was overcome through comprehensive training, emphasising the benefits of the engagement dashboard and access to materials.
  • Encouraging parents to engage with Reading Hub required tailored communication and support strategies.

Results

  • Average reading time per pupil per week increased by 29% (from 85 minutes to 110 minutes) in the intervention group.The control group saw no change in average reading time.
  • The intervention group saw the average number of books read per pupil per month increase by 50% (from 4 to 6 books) whereas the control group remained the same at 4.
  • The intervention group demonstrated a 25% increase in average reading age, with FSM-eligible pupils showing a 30% improvement, narrowing the gap with their peers.
  • Surveys and interviews highlighted heightened parental enthusiasm for reading activities, with 90% of parents in the intervention group reporting increased involvement and 94% feeling better informed about their children’s progress.
  • Of the parents using Reading Hub, 96% said they would choose to continue using Reading Hub instead of going back to traditional paper logs. Some of the comments from parents using Reading Hub include: “Reading Hub has been a lifesaver for us” and “It’s [Reading Hub] made reading fun for her, and it’s great to see her so enthusiastic about it.”

Conclusion

The implementation of Reading Hub at Churchfield Primary School resulted in significant improvements in reading engagement and parental involvement. By addressing the challenge of access to books and fostering a culture of reading, the school is delighted with the impact Reading Hub has had on reading engagement. The controlled study demonstrated the clear benefits of Reading Hub compared to traditional reading methods. Due to the noticeable impact on reading age within the first term, the school deemed it unethical to continue depriving half of the pupils of this valuable resource and decided to extend access to all pupils. As a result, the data collected is only from the first term of the school year.