Parental Engagement and Reading Proficiency at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School

Key Findings

This case study explores the implementation of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School. Despite being rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, the school faced the challenge of being a large school with over 400 pupils and below-average reading ages. By introducing Reading Hub, the school aimed to improve reading outcomes and foster greater parental engagement. 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 findings showed that the intervention class using Reading Hub saw a 60% 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 33%. Parental feedback also revealed that 85% of parents in the intervention group preferred using Reading Hub to traditional methods. The study demonstrated positive impacts in the intervention group using Reading Hub.

School Objectives

  • Improve reading engagement and proficiency among all pupils, particularly addressing below-average reading ages.
  • Increase parental involvement in their children’s reading.
  • Monitor and support pupils’ reading engagement effectively.
  • Ensure equitable access to a wide range of reading materials for all pupils.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study illustrates how the implementation of Reading Hub at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School led to notable improvements in reading engagement and parental involvement, despite initial challenges.

Current Challenges:

  • Below-Average Reading Ages: The school identified that many pupils had below-average reading ages, requiring focused intervention.
  • Limited Parental Involvement: There was a need to enhance parental involvement in supporting their children’s reading.
  • Lack of Access to Quality Reading Materials: Many pupils did not have access to quality reading materials at home, contributing to lower reading outcomes.
  • Strengthening Home-School Connection: The school aimed to improve the connection between home and school to support reading development.

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 gained access to the Reading Hub mobile app, providing them with a selection of 3000 eBooks to read both at school and at home.
  • Web App for Teachers: Educators used the web app to access reading materials and monitor reading engagement, enabling them to provide targeted support to pupils.
  • Onboarding and Training: Teachers received training on utilising Reading Hub effectively, while parents were provided 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:

  • The school provided loaner devices to ensure all pupils could access Reading Hub, addressing the issue of digital access.
  • Comprehensive training and ongoing support were provided to teachers to ensure effective utilisation of Reading Hub and its engagement dashboard.

Results

  • The intervention group demonstrated substantial improvements. The average time spent reading per week per pupil increased from 75 minutes to 120 minutes (a 60% increase), compared to the control group, which saw a more modest increase from 75 minutes to 80 minutes (a 6.7% increase).
  • The average number of books read per pupil per month in the intervention group increased from 2 books to 5 books (a 150% increase), while the control group saw no change, remaining at 2 books per month.
  • Pupils using Reading Hub demonstrated a significant improvement in reading proficiency. Reading comprehension scores increased by 33% in the intervention group, compared to a 5% increase in the control group.
  • Parental involvement in their children’s reading activities saw a marked improvement. In the intervention group, 82% of parents reported regular engagement in their child’s reading. Additionally, 85% of parents in the intervention group preferred using Reading Hub, with many appreciating the ability to leave comments and track reading sessions, versus 60% in the control group.
  • Parents in the intervention group provided positive feedback, with comments such as “Reading Hub has been a fantastic resource for our family,” and “we found it particularly helpful at the weekend and during holidays when they are in need of some quiet time.”

Conclusion

The implementation of Reading Hub at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School resulted in significant improvements in reading engagement and parental involvement, despite initial challenges. By addressing the issue of access to reading materials and fostering a culture of reading, the school improved its educational environment. The controlled study demonstrated the clear benefits of Reading Hub, highlighting its potential for further educational institutions.