Parental Engagement and Reading Access at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School

Key Findings

This case study examines the implementation of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School, which has over 300 pupils and a higher-than-average percentage of pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM). By introducing Reading Hub, the school aimed to improve reading engagement, proficiency, and parental involvement. A controlled study of two groups of pupils in Year 6: 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 class using Reading Hub experienced a 200% increase in average weekly reading time and a 250% increase in the average number of books read per month. Additionally, the average reading age increased by 39% in the intervention class, with FSM-eligible pupils showing a 21% improvement. Parental involvement also significantly improved in the intervention class, with 86% of parents reporting increased engagement. The study highlights the effectiveness of digital reading resources in enhancing reading engagement, proficiency, and parental involvement.

School Objectives

  • Provide equal access to a wide range of reading materials for all pupils.
  • Increase reading engagement and proficiency, particularly among FSM-eligible pupils.
  • Enable teachers to monitor and support pupils’ reading engagement in school and at home.
  • Improve parental engagement in their children’s reading.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study illustrates how the use of Reading Hub improved reading engagement at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School by enhancing access to books and fostering greater parental involvement.

Current Challenges:

  • Access to Quality Reading Materials: Ensuring all pupils, especially those from low-income families, had quality reading materials at home was a significant challenge.
  • Lack of Resources: Many pupils lacked sufficient books or resources to support their reading development outside of school hours.
  • Need for Accessible Resources: The school identified a critical need for reading resources that pupils could use both in school and at home.
  • Boosting Parental Engagement: Increasing parental involvement in their children’s reading was essential.

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 were given access to the Reading Hub mobile app, allowing them to choose from a selection of 3000 eBooks to read on digital devices both at school and at home.
  • Web App for Teachers: Teachers and school leaders used the web app to access reading materials in class and monitor reading engagement, such as time spent reading and number of books read, to identify which families and pupils were engaging most or needed more support with the technology.
  • Onboarding and Training: Teachers received training on how to use Reading Hub effectively. Parents were provided with information and guidance on supporting their children’s reading at home using the app.

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:

  • Some families did not have access to digital devices. The school addressed this by providing loaner devices and ensuring all pupils could access Reading Hub.
  • Initial resistance from some teachers was overcome through training and consistent support as well as demonstrating the benefits of the analytics provided by the web app.

Results

  • The intervention group demonstrated substantial improvements: the average time spent reading per week per pupil surged by 200%, from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. In contrast, the control group saw a more modest increase, from 30 minutes to 42 minutes.
  • The average number of books read per month per pupil in the intervention group increased by 250%, rising from 1 book to 3.5 books, while the control group stayed the same at 1 book per month. These findings underscore the significant impact of digital access on enhancing reading habits and proficiency among students.
  • Within a year, the average reading age increased by 39% in the intervention group, compared to 5% in the control group. FSM-eligible pupils demonstrated a 21% improvement in reading age, closing the gap with their peers.
  • Surveys and interviews revealed heightened enthusiasm for reading among pupils. 86% of parents in the intervention group reported increased involvement in their children’s reading activities due to the digital reading log, compared to 50% in the control group. 90% of parents in the intervention group preferred using Reading Hub compared to traditional methods. Parents said they found Reading Hub “a real help” and “made it easy for me to get involved.”

Conclusion

The implementation of Reading Hub at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School was highly successful, particularly in solving the issue of access to books for FSM-eligible pupils and enhancing overall reading outcomes. The combination of a variety of reading materials, detailed reading analytics, and active parental involvement fostered a thriving reading culture within the intervention class, as evidenced by the significant improvements compared to the control class.