Improved Reading Ages and Outcomes at Tortworth VC Primary School

Key Findings

This case study explores the successful implementation of Reading Hub, a digital library solution, at Tortworth VC Primary School. With 68 pupils, a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, above-average Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility, and below-average reading levels, the school aimed to improve reading engagement, achievement, and family participation. A controlled study compared two vertical Key Stage 2 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 saw a 45% increase in average weekly reading time and a 55% increase in the average number of books read per month. Additionally, the average reading age in the intervention class increased by 22%, with FSM-eligible pupils showing a 28% improvement. Parental involvement also significantly improved in the intervention class, with 91% reporting they increased their involvement in their child’s reading. The study demonstrated positive impacts, particularly among FSM-eligible pupils, in the intervention group using Reading Hub.

School Objectives

  • Ensure pupils have access to a wide range of books, both in school and at home.
  • Increase the time pupils spend reading and their overall enthusiasm for reading.
  • Raise the reading ages across all pupils, with a focus on FSM-eligible pupils.
  • Involve parents more deeply in their children’s reading activities to support ongoing literacy development.

Aim of the Case Study

This case study illustrates how the introduction of Reading Hub at Tortworth VC Primary School led to notable improvements in reading engagement and parental involvement, contributing to the school’s ongoing success.

Current Challenges:

  • Limited physical resources: The small size of the school meant that the physical library had a limited number of books, restricting pupils’ choices.
  • Engaging all families: With a significant number of FSM-eligible pupils, the school needed to find effective ways to engage parents who might have limited time or resources.
  • Consistency in reading practice: Ensuring that pupils maintained consistent reading habits at school was difficult because of the blended classes and at home was difficult without adequate tools.

Implementation Process:

  • Control Group Study Design: Twelve Year 6 pupils (across both vertical Key Stage 2 classes) participated in the study. Six were given access to Reading Hub while the other six 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, allowing them to choose 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 thorough training on 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:

  • The school addressed the issue of digital access by providing loaner devices to ensure all pupils could access Reading Hub. This was crucial in a small school with limited resources.
  • Initial resistance was overcome through comprehensive training, highlighting the benefits of the engagement dashboard and ensuring teachers felt confident using the new technology.
  • Engaging parents who might have limited time or resources required tailored communication strategies and support to ensure they could effectively use the Reading Hub app.

Results

  • The average reading time spent per pupil per week increased by 45% (from 50 minutes to 73 minutes) in the intervention group. Whereas the control group saw an increase from 50 to 52 minutes.
  • Average number of books read per pupil per month in the intervention group rose by 55% (from 4 to 6 books) and the control group remained the same at 4 books per month.
  • The intervention group demonstrated a 22% increase in average reading age across all year groups, with FSM-eligible pupils showing a remarkable 28% improvement, significantly closing the gap with their peers.
  • Surveys and interviews highlighted heightened parental enthusiasm for reading activities, with 91% of parents in the intervention group reporting increased involvement and 95% feeling better informed about their children’s progress.
  • 83% of parents said that they would choose Reading Hub over traditional reading methods because they had “access to such a variety” of books.

Conclusion

The implementation of Reading Hub at Tortworth VC Primary School resulted in significant improvements in reading outcomes and parental involvement. By addressing the challenge of access to books and fostering a culture of reading, the school enhanced its educational environment. The controlled study demonstrated the clear benefits of Reading Hub compared to traditional reading methods, highlighting its potential for further educational institutions.