Key points

  • An online reading log
  • Send reading reminders to parents
  • Award reading and ‘star reader’ badges to children (and involve parents)
  • Motivates pupils through parent recognition
  • Immediate, positive impact on reading levels
  • Save paper, save time, save money
  • Fully GDPR compliant

About Stamshaw Junior School

Stamshaw Junior Schools has around 220 pupils aged 7 to 11 years and sits in Portsmouth, a city in Hampshire.  The school delivers a high standard of education to its pupils and works well with parents to help pupils achieve their full potential.

One challenge for all schools today is driving home reading practice, competing against gaming platforms and the web, but Stamshaw Junior School has been taking some great initiatives to make reading more attractive for pupils.

The challenge

The challenge for teachers is to keep children engaged with reading.  With the recent lockdowns, technology has accelerated, and the draw of a good book is waning.  In many households, parents reach for their phones, and children reach for their tablets rather than a book.

But, not one to be defeated; Stamshaw Junior School is working with pupils and parents to ensure that reading stays high on their agenda. As James Schillemore, Lower Phase Leader and English Lead at Stamshaw Junior School, explains:

“It’s imperative that children read daily.  As a teacher, I can easily tell who reads at home and who doesn’t. It has such a big impact on a child’s vocabulary and knowledge, and general learning skills.”

Taking back the reigns

James continues: “I can immediately tell through their language and descriptive terms who my regular readers are in class, as the author’s voice shows in their writing.

“But, it’s a real challenge to get children off screens at home. In the last year, through remote learning, we’ve seen the use of technology at home accelerate hugely. I believe, though, the time has come to take back the reigns, so to speak.”

“In non-Covid times, we have some brilliant events in school to promote reading as entertainment. Usually, we would have author visits, and without doubt, the children always want to read their books afterwards.  We would also participate in other events, such as local literary festivals and competitions, but it is challenging in the current climate with so many restrictions in place.

“We can’t send home paper reading diaries due to Covid, although the interest in those was dropping pre-pandemic, so we were looking at better ways to engage with our parents and motivate pupils to read more at home.”

Parent power

“We already use MarvellousMe to communicate with parents in a familiar format that they can easily access.  For our school, it’s been a great way to really engage parents with positive news about their children’ school day.  I was interested to hear about its new reading log functionality, so we’ve started using it to help get pupils and families reading more.

“The MarvellousMe Reading Log has been great.  Parents can easily tell us how often, what and how their child has read. It’s so quick and easy for them to use from their mobiles, and really easy for us to remind anyone who forgets.

Parents are giving us much more information than we usually get in a written log book. I’m finding out what audiobooks the children are listening to and what reading books they are enjoying.  Then, I can praise the children for their reading practice and progress by awarding a MarvellousMe Reading or ‘Star Reader’ badge. Parents get pinged every-time I award a badge too, so it brings them into the praise loop.  As a parent, you can see that the reading activity is worthwhile.”

“Another useful feature of the MarvellousMe Reading Log is that it helps me to see if any pupil is struggling with a book at home.  One parent commented straight away that their child was finding a book a little difficult, so I could immediately talk to the pupil about it and change the book to something more suitable.”

Great insights

“I love the fact that the MrvellousMe Reading Log can easily be adapted for different year groups. It also provides some great data in a simple spreadsheet; no more wading through reading logbooks.  It gives me great insight into each class’s reading, and I can see how many times a child has read and what they are reading.  Perfect for when Ofsted or our Academy leaders pay a visit. I have all the information to hand; it’s so helpful.”

Next steps

As a school using EdTech to help ensure every child achieves regardless of their background, what is next?

“It’s early days with the MarvellousMe Reading Log, but everyone agrees it’s a very powerful way to encourage home reading, and the data we receive gives us the right insight to develop children’s progress further, and ensure regular home reading practice in every class. It’s helping us to engage pupils and parents and the praise and reward format is motivating them to read more together at home.”

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