Reading Access and Parental Engagement at Roman Way First School

Key Findings

This case study explores the implementation of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at Roman Way First School. Located in a suburban area, the school has 200 pupils, was recently graded ‘Requires Improvement’ by Ofsted, and faces challenges with below-average Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility and reading levels among its Key Stage 1 pupils. The initiative aimed to improve reading engagement, improve access to books, and enhance parental involvement. This study focused specifically on Key Stage 1, with 20 pupils in the intervention group using Reading Hub and 20 pupils in the control group continuing with traditional reading methods.

The findings showed that the intervention class using Reading Hub saw a 77% 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 15%. Parental involvement also significantly improved in the intervention class, with 75% of parents reporting increased engagement. The study highlights the effectiveness of digital reading resources in enhancing reading engagement, proficiency, and parental involvement.

School Objectives

  • Increase reading engagement among Key Stage 1 pupils through interactive digital resources and tailored reading materials.
  • Enhance access to age-appropriate reading materials both in school and at home to support literacy development.
  • Improve parental involvement in pupils’ reading habits and progress to foster a collaborative approach to literacy education.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study aims to demonstrate how the introduction of Reading Hub at Roman Way First School positively impacts reading engagement, book accessibility, and parental involvement, thereby addressing specific literacy challenges faced by Key Stage 1 pupils.

Current Challenges:

  • Reading Engagement: Sustaining interest and active participation in reading among Key Stage 1 pupils, particularly those with below-average reading skills.
  • Access to Reading Materials: Ensuring availability of diverse and suitable reading materials that cater to different reading levels within Key Stage 1.
  • Parental Engagement: Encouraging parents to play an active role in supporting their children’s reading habits and literacy development, despite potential barriers such as time constraints or limited familiarity with appropriate reading materials.

Implementation Process:

  • Study Design: Key Stage 1 students were divided into two groups: an intervention group of 20 pupils using Reading Hub and a control group of 20 pupils continuing with traditional reading methods.
  • Digital Resources: The intervention group accessed Reading Hub’s digital library of 3000 books, available both in school and at home, tailored to Key Stage 1 reading levels and interests.
  • Teacher Support: Teachers used the engagement dashboard to monitor reading progress, recommend books, and provide targeted support to intervention group pupils.
  • Parental Involvement: Workshops and information sessions were conducted to familiarise parents with Reading Hub, emphasising its benefits and how they could support 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:

  • Supporting all families in the community with using the app at home. The school overcame this by scheduling parent drop-ins and tutorials to allow them to ask questions and get to know the app.
  • 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 saw a 77% increase in weekly reading time per pupil (from 45 minutes to 80 minutes) compared to the control group which remained the same at 45 minutes per week.
  • Average number of books read per pupil per month increased by 150% from 2 to 5 in the intervention group. The control group saw a slight increase of 50% from 2 to 3 books per month.
  • Pupils in the intervention group demonstrated measurable improvements in their reading levels, achieving an average increase of 15% in reading comprehension and fluency assessments compared to their peers in the control group.
  • Surveys revealed a notable increase in parental engagement. Prior to the study, only 40% of parents were regularly involved in their child’s reading activities, but this increased to 75% after the introduction of Reading Hub. Additionally, 80% of parents felt more confident in supporting their child’s literacy development at home, highlighting the positive impact of the program on parental involvement.
  • 81% of parents preferred to use Reading Hub and the parents from the intervention class felt better informed about their children’s reading progress. Parents felt that Reading Hub “made our evenings richer and more meaningful.”

Conclusion

The implementation of Reading Hub at Roman Way First School has proven effective in boosting reading engagement, improving access to books, and enhancing parental involvement among Key Stage 1 pupils. By addressing specific challenges and leveraging digital resources, the school has taken significant strides toward overcoming literacy barriers and fostering a supportive learning environment. This case study underscores the potential of Reading Hub to enhance literacy outcomes in schools facing similar challenges, offering valuable insights for educators.