Fostering a Love for Reading at Ashley Primary School

Key Findings

This case study explores the impact of implementing Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at Ashley Primary School. With 437 pupils, an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating, below-average Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility, and below-average reading levels, the school aimed to increase reading engagement, provide better book access, and improve parental involvement. This was a controlled study of two groups of pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2: one using Reading Hub (intervention group) and the other using traditional reading methods (control group). The study demonstrated positive impacts in the intervention group using Reading Hub.

The findings showed that the intervention classes across both Key Stages using Reading Hub saw an increase of 71.5% increase in average weekly reading time and a 83% increase in average number of books read per month. Additionally, the average reading age in the intervention class increased by 40%. Parental involvement also significantly improved in the intervention class, with 83% of parents reporting increased engagement. The study demonstrated positive impacts of Reading Hub on reading engagement and parental involvement across the school.

School Objectives

  • Increase access to reading materials for all pupils, both in school and at home.
  • Enhance reading engagement and foster a love for reading among pupils.
  • Improve reading ages across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
  • Strengthen parental involvement in pupils’ reading to support ongoing literacy development.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study demonstrates how implementing the Reading Hub at Ashley Primary School significantly improved reading engagement, book accessibility, and parental involvement, thereby enhancing the school’s overall literacy development efforts.

Current Challenges:

  • Engagement: Maintaining high levels of reading engagement among pupils, given the school’s below-average reading levels.
  • Parental Involvement: Encouraging parents to actively participate in their children’s reading activities required effective communication and resources.
  • Resource Limitations: Providing a wide range of quality reading materials within the school’s limited library resources was challenging.

Implementation Process:

  • Control Group Study Design: Four classes participated in the study. Two classes (one from Key Stage 1 and one from Key Stage 2) were given access to Reading Hub (intervention group), while the other two classes maintained their regular reading schedule (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:

  • To address the initial lack of digital devices among some families, the school provided loaner devices, ensuring all pupils in the intervention group could use Reading Hub.
  • Initial resistance from some teachers was overcome through comprehensive training, which emphasised the benefits of the reading engagement dashboard and ensured teachers felt confident with the new technology.
  • Engaging parents required tailored communication strategies and support to ensure they could effectively use the Reading Hub app.

Results

  • In the Key Stage 1 intervention class, reading time per pupil per week increased by 72% (from 55 minutes to 95), and the number of books read per pupil per month rose from 2 to 4, a 100% increase. The control group remained the same for both reading time and number of books read.
  • In the Key Stage 2 intervention class, reading time per pupil per week increased by 71% (from 70 minutes to 120), and the number of books read per pupil per month rose from 3 to 5, a 67% increase. The control group saw no increase in reading time but did see a 16% increase in number of books (from 3 to 3.5).
  • The intervention group demonstrated a 25% increase in average reading age. Key Stage 1 pupils showed a 30% improvement in their reading age, while Key Stage 2 pupils improved by 20%.
  • In the Key Stage 1 intervention class, 85% of parents reported increased involvement and 90% felt better informed about their children’s progress. In the Key Stage 2 intervention class, 83% of parents reported increased involvement and 88% felt better informed about their children’s progress.
  • 84% of parents using Reading Hub said they would choose to use it to support their child’s reading over traditional reading methods. Some of the comments from parents included: “he’s genuinely excited to read every day” and “The app is really easy to use, and it’s made supporting his reading at home so much easier.”

Conclusion

The introduction of the Reading Hub at Ashley Primary School led to notable enhancements in reading engagement, book accessibility, and parental involvement. By overcoming resource limitations and promoting a reading culture, the school effectively improved its educational setting. A controlled study underscored the advantages of the Reading Hub over traditional reading methods, emphasising its potential application in other educational institutions.