Attitudes to Reading and Community Engagement at Bell Lane Primary School

Key Findings

This case study examines the successful implementation of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at Bell Lane Primary School. With 410 pupils, a ‘Requires Improvement’ (RI) Ofsted rating, above-average Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility, and above-average reading levels, the school aimed to strengthen the bond between home and school and foster a love of reading throughout the community. A controlled study compared two Key Stage 1 classes: one using Reading Hub (intervention group) and the other using traditional reading methods (control group).

The findings showed that the intervention class using Reading Hub had a 53% increase in average weekly reading time and a 150% increase in the average number of books read per month. Additionally, the average reading age in the intervention class increased by 17%, with FSM-eligible pupils showing a 22% improvement. Parental involvement also significantly improved in the intervention class, with 94% of parents reported engaging more in their children’s reading. The study demonstrated positive impacts in the intervention group using Reading Hub.

School Objectives

  • Ensure all Key Stage 1 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 Key Stage 1 pupils.
  • Deepen parental involvement in pupils’ reading to support ongoing literacy development.
  • Provide adequate support for pupils in the early stages of reading development.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study illustrates how the introduction of Reading Hub at Bell Lane Primary School led to notable improvements in reading outcomes and parental involvement, contributing to the school’s progress towards achieving a higher Ofsted rating.

Current Challenges:

  • Maintaining Engagement: Despite above-average reading levels, maintaining consistent pupil engagement in reading was a priority.
  • Parental Involvement: Encouraging parents to take an active role in their children’s reading required effective communication and resources.
  • Resource Allocation: Ensuring a diverse range of reading materials within the school’s library space was challenging given the large number of pupils.
  • Early Reading Support: Providing appropriate support for pupils in the early stages of reading development to ensure a strong literacy foundation.

Implementation Process:

  • Control Group Study Design: Two Key Stage 1 classes participated in the study. One class was given access to Reading Hub (intervention group), while the other maintained their regular reading schedule, using paper reading logs and weekly visits to the school library (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:

  • Some families initially lacked access to digital devices. The school addressed this by providing loaner devices to ensure all pupils in the intervention group could use Reading Hub.
  • Initial resistance from some teachers was overcome through comprehensive training, emphasising the benefits of the dashboard and reading materials ensuring teachers felt confident using the new technology.
  • Engaging parents required tailored communication strategies and support to ensure they could effectively use the Reading Hub app.
  • Providing enough books to meet the high demand from pupils, ensuring everyone had access to engaging and appropriate reading materials.

Results

  • Average reading time per pupil per week increased by 53% (from 65 minutes to 100 minutes) in the intervention group. The control group remained the same with an average of 65 minutes of reading a week.
  • Average number of books read per pupil per month by the intervention group rose by 150% (from 2 to 5 books) whereas the control group saw a 50% increase (from 2 to 3 books).
  • The intervention group demonstrated a 17% increase in average reading age, with FSM-eligible pupils showing a 22% improvement, narrowing the gap with their peers.
  • Surveys and interviews highlighted more enthusiasm from parents for reading activities, with 94% of parents in the intervention group reporting increased involvement and 90% feeling better informed about their children’s progress.
  • 75% of parents said they would like to continue using Reading Hub instead of going back to traditional paper logs. Some of the comments from parents who used Reading Hub included: “Reading Hub has made finding the right books for my son so much easier” and ” I love being able to track his progress and get involved.”

Conclusion

The implementation of Reading Hub at Bell Lane 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 was pleased with the increase in reading engagement. The controlled study demonstrated the clear benefits of Reading Hub compared to traditional reading methods, highlighting its potential for further educational institutions.