The event sparked numerous projects and collaborations including a reading intervention programme supporting over 200 learners across 8 centres in Hull.
Once discussions around the positive use of ebooks to support literacy programmes in schools developed, it became apparent that a project in the city could be launched to extend current interventions. The National Literacy Trust project was a catalyst to design a programme to extend readers in Hull.
Through the Primary Headteachers’ forum, a project focused on progression of reading with children in Year 5 has emerged.
Each school has populated their own online library of ebooks with free titles alongside the ability to populate with a range of books appropriate to their children’s ability, interests and current reading schemes. For some that has seen an extended range of Accelerated Reader titles added to their online library and for others, using pupil voice throughout decision making, a common theme has been more Diary of a Wimpy Kid or titles from David Walliams.
We’re also thrilled to see the head and teachers from The Boulevard Centre collaborating through the programme with their own project, supporting readers whose ages are lower and higher than Y5, and individual needs and interventions.
Whilst the focus of the project is to report back on the impact with Year 5 children, schools have been encouraged and supported to utilise the books and resources with other classes and groups. They’ll be able to continue to use their library of books after this first evaluation study is over.
Data collection such as attitudinal surveys and reading ages, taken at project launch and finish, will be collated as evaluation tools alongside anecdotal comments from teachers and readers.
We’ll share initial findings at this year’s Tech 4 Change conference in Hull on 23 June.
Implementation of an online library resource
Most schools are utilising tablet devices for children to access their ebooks, alongside laptop and desktop computers. The latter have been used in a couple of schools when children have requested reading time once their computing activity has been finished!
There’s a definite mix of teachers who have previously used ebooks as part of their guided reading programme and those who are evaluating for the first time. From the beginning of the project has always been the intention to explore progression of reading through ebooks and also to maintain a healthy balance with physical books.
Most projects have also added opportunities for pupil voice in their library decision making process. Teachers have chosen to include the ‘recommend’ option for children to suggest reading books to be added to their school library and individual collection.
Reading intervention time with ebooks differs for each group, let alone each school. Some examples:
- A dedicated one hour each week for all Year 5 children
- Weekly guided reading session using ebooks (other times continue with physical books)
- Lunchtime reading clubs
- Daily intervention groups
- Supporting out of school access
- Reading opportunities within other learning times
Tools and reporting
Tools within the library have supported teachers to create a bespoke range of books suitable for their learners’ needs.
Filtering by genre, interest level and reading age has been beneficial for one school who have been extending reading opportunities for above average girls in their project. In another school, the tools have enabled bespoke packs to be created for children with EAL with other examples to share at a later date.
Reporting capabilities have also highlighted progress and time spent reading including number of books, page turns, interactions etc. Of course this has flagged up continued reading for some children at home during evenings, weekends and holidays and perhaps the most requested and popular titles in the library. For individuals, their progress is available for teachers to share and trends have been highlighted.
Individual learner needs and feedback
We’re starting to hear about comments and experience from children’s reading sessions and of course building up a bank of evidence and quotes through the surveys.
Requests from children for a particular genre of book or author are highlighted to teachers through the reporting tools and their comments about using ebooks for one of their guided reading sessions have been positive.
At one school there’s been an excitement at using mobile devices to access their books as they’ve taken pleasure in answering questions related to their assessment focus. Guided reading sessions have given opportunities for challenges to further interact with the text, which the children have particularly enjoyed.
For a couple of readers at one school their enjoyment of reading, time spent reading and confidence have all increased as they’re making progress. This has led to requests for ‘more challenging books, please’ which was quickly acknowledge and actioned by their reading intervention teacher!
For one child with general learning difficulties, previous use of an iPad for learning activities has proved difficult. During this ebook project he’s gaining positive experiences through reading with a peer.
Early lessons learnt?
Further interventions have been needed for some children in the project, either supporting their learning, reading behaviours or access to the online libraries.
Reports have flagged up the small number of children who ‘test out’ the monitoring system with apparent mammoth reading activity only to find that they’ve become ‘page flickers’. Soon resolved!
For one child with autism, he’s found connecting an iPad to his medium for reading exceptionally difficult. Comfortable using a tablet for learning activities, sees the iPad as a device for quizzes, games, research and projects.
The project will continue over the Summer term, with schools able to extend their library to more children, and particularly as the new academic year starts in September. There’s no switch off date.
Some of the teachers involved in the project will be sharing their experiences and reporting on reading progress of their children at the Tech 4 Change conference on 23 June.
If you’d like to learn more about using ebooks to embed a culture of literacy across the curriculum, join us on the day by registering for a free of charge place on the link below.