Improved Book Accessibility at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Stockport

Key Findings

This case study examines the introduction of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Stockport. The school, with 114 pupils and an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating, faced above-average Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility and below-average reading levels. The initiative aimed to boost reading engagement, improve book accessibility, and enhance parental involvement. The study involved one group of 30 pupils across all year groups using Reading Hub (intervention group), while the rest of the school continued with traditional reading methods (control group). Positive impacts were evident within the intervention group using Reading Hub.

The findings showed that the intervention class using Reading Hub saw a 72% increase in average weekly reading time and a 175% increase average number of books read per month. Additionally, the average reading age in the intervention class increased by 26%. Parental involvement also significantly improved in the intervention class, with 80% 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 levels throughout the school.
  • Strengthen parental involvement in pupils’ reading to support ongoing literacy development.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study demonstrates how the implementation of Reading Hub at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School significantly improved reading engagement, book accessibility, and parental involvement, thereby advancing the school’s literacy development efforts.

Current Challenges:

  • Ensuring pupils maintain consistent reading habits beyond school hours, especially for those lacking resources or encouragement at home.
  • Encouraging active parental involvement and support in their children’s reading, addressing barriers such as time constraints or limited familiarity with appropriate books for their children. 
  • Providing diverse and accessible reading materials both in school and at home, including updating and expanding the book collection in school to cater to different reading levels and interests.

Implementation Process:

  • Control Group Study Design: All Key Stages took place in the study. Thirty pupils across all year groups were assigned to the intervention group using Reading Hub, while the rest of the school continued with traditional reading methods.
  • 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:

  • Initially, integrating Reading Hub faced challenges with device compatibility and internet connectivity. St Mary’s addressed this by implementing robust technical support and regular maintenance checks, ensuring uninterrupted access for all pupils.
  • To maintain parental involvement, the school established regular meetings focused on Reading Hub’s impact, along with workshops, newsletters, social media updates, and parent portals within Reading Hub to keep parents informed and engaged consistently.
  • St Mary’s overcame the challenge of assessing Reading Hub’s impact across diverse age groups by using standardised assessments, progress tracking tools in the dashboard, and regular feedback sessions. This approach ensured tailored interventions and adjustments, maximising the program’s effectiveness school-wide.

Results

  • On average, reading time per pupil per week rose by 72% (from 55 minutes to 95) in the intervention group. The control group saw a 9% increase (from 55 minutes to 60).
  • The average number of books read per pupil per month increased by 175% (from 2 books to 5.5), marking a 66% improvement. The control group saw no change.
  • The intervention group showed substantial progress in reading age, with an average increase of 26% across Key Stages.
  • Surveys and interviews indicated heightened parental engagement in reading activities. In the intervention group, 80% of parents reported increased involvement, and 85% felt better informed about their children’s progress.
  • 91% of parents said they would like to continue to use Reading Hub as opposed to returning to traditional methods. Some of the comments from parents include: “It’s opened up a world of books they enjoy, both at school and home” and “It has made a big difference in our child’s reading enjoyment.”

Conclusion

The introduction of Reading Hub at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School resulted in significant improvements in reading engagement, book accessibility, and parental involvement. By addressing resource limitations and fostering a reading culture, the school effectively enhanced its educational environment. The controlled study of one group using Reading Hub highlighted its efficacy compared to traditional methods, demonstrating its potential to enhance literacy outcomes in other educational settings.