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The Success of Read for My School 2013

Read For My School

Those who question the role that electronic devices can play in the promotion of reading amongst children will be interested to learn of the conclusions drawn from teachers, authors and reading experts after the 2013 Read for My School competition organised by the Pearson Trust and Booktrust*, with additional support from the Department for Education.


Children read over 400,000 books in inaugural Read for My School Competition


Between 21st January and 22nd March, almost 100,000 years 5 and 6 children from over 3,600 schools in England recorded reading over 400,00 books.


Interestingly, 49% of these books were accessed via an online library provided by publishers Pearson, DK and Penguin.


85% of teachers whose pupils participated in the competition stated that the provision of these books encouraged children to read. Children were excited by the opportunity to access a wide range of books online in school and at home. The teachers also revealed that boys with average and lower reading ability were most encouraged by the online facility and all teachers indicated that as a result of witnessing children engaging with reading this way, in future they would be seeking out ways to incorporate e-books into literacy and reading for pleasure in the classroom.


86% of teachers said that the competition had motivated children to read more books than usual and around 66% of teachers reported that their pupils were now more likely to read for pleasure.


39% of pupils surveyed reported reading over ten books in the previous 4 weeks – up from 11%. Four out of five pupils also wanted their school to participate again next year.


An interesting consequence of making books available online was the popularity of peer to peer recommendation. While physical libraries can stock a finite number of copies of one title, online availability increases the likelihood of children reading the same book as their friends, discussing it and sharing their enthusiasms for the book and for reading. The success of this shared experience was highlighted by teachers.


Similarly, the novelty of experiencing books through a new(ish) medium was clearly a positive for most children and the facility to manipulate font size and the opportunity to approach texts in a different way to reading printed books was seen by teachers as a useful tool when working with children with special educational needs and those who experienced difficulties reading.


Involving Parents


Parents who struggle to encourage their children to read at home may have been helped by Read for My School (RFMS): as the competition was delivered and managed online, teachers found it easy to explain the competition to parents and to involve them in supporting their children’s reading. One teacher commented that “having parents read with the kids is really important, and actually RFMS gives schools a great opportunity to involve parents in reading more widely.”


*Booktrust is an independent reading and writing charity that makes “a significant positive contribution to the educational outcomes of children from the earliest age.” Booktrust works with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to empower their reading and their reading choices. Among its many projects, Booktrust is responsible for Bookstart, which has delivered over forty million free books into family homes in the last 20 years.


Click here to find out more about Read For My School 2013.


Earlier this week one of our guest bloggers wrote about how parents can use wooden toys to help children learn basic reading skills.


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