Feedback from a primary school

Here's what one school thought of Story Hunters. The feedback comes via parents, teachers and children at Francis Askew Primary School in Hull.

Laura Wilde, senior leader for Year 3 and 4

Why did you sign up for Story Hunters?

I really wanted to raise the profile of reading at the school. Reading is something we don't do very well at in SATs and home-school engagement is quite poor, so we thought Story Hunters could help with that as they are taking the books home to share with their family members.

The emphasis of Story Hunters on the home is positive and important as most programmes we run currently are school-based.

How did you choose students to take part in Story Hunters?

I included all of the students who are eligible for pupil premium as they tend to have a lack of funds for these type of books and resources at home, as well as lower levels of parental support. I also included children who are reluctant readers, who may not struggle with reading, but don't really enjoy it and don't often read at home. I think these children were the perfect type for Story Hunters.

The children who didn't get Story Hunters were absolutely fine about it, and the children who did get it were really sharing their resources with those who weren't involved.

How did you deliver Story Hunters?

We told the children about Story Hunters and got them to invite their parents in to the meeting. The children then opened their parcels together in school. The delivery of the programme went really well and the children loved it. They don't often get special things like that - it was lovely to see them open their parcels.

What did you think of the contents of the packs?

I thought there was a really good mix of things in the packs, because it wasn't just the books, it was things they could do with the books. It helped the children see that reading can be anything - writing, drawing and reading, they all link. The resources were high quality and it was nice to see some completely different non-fiction, because the children tend to be drawn to fiction.

I thought it was well-pitched in terms of level, too. They were sharing easier ones with siblings and will access the harder ones when they are older, or get their families to help them.

Did you notice any changes as a result of Story Hunters?

Yes, we now have less children in reading catch-up which shows they're reading at home more, too. The children also have more confidence and enthusiasm about speaking about texts - the children who are doing Story Hunters are a lot more vocal, have a lot more ideas and are willing to share more than they were prior to this, which is great.

It definitely brought the profile of reading up throughout Year 3 and 4, as other children saw the parcels, too. When they came back into the classrooms, they were sharing their books with their peers. They particularly enjoyed the non-fiction, like the astronaut book.

One girl, in particular - she's really bright at reading but wasn't engaged in text. It was something she didn't care for. But since Story Hunters, she's even said that she chooses to read now rather than play!

Do you think these changes will be sustained now that Story Hunters has finished?

I think they definitely will. There were two boys who took part who I didn't think would engage with the programme and they're changed characters. They love it so much and I think that drive to choose reading over other things will stay with them. It's bigger than the programme; they now actively look for books by the same author in the library.

Children at Francis Askew Primary School

'It made me more interested in books! I didn't read a lot before, but now I do because Story Hunters has got loads of fun stuff and good books.
'It made me want to read more. Because some of the books are really interesting and Claude and Horrid Henry got me interested, and then once I read Claude, I kept on reading another book, and then another, and I started liking more books too.'
'When I first got my first pack, I read the first book, and I thought I was in a different world because I was enjoying it so much!'
'I didn't used to read at night, but now I do. I used to play when I was bored but now I read.'
'Some of [the books] were hard, some were easy, but put them together and it is just right.'

Parents at Francis Askew Primary School

'She has loved all the parcels. She said it was like having extra birthdays [and] she was always excited about what she would be receiving.'
'He was very pleased with all the parcels. It got him talking about books more. He is also reading more.'

More about Story Hunters

Read our full Story Hunters pilot evaluation report

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Story Hunters is our reading adventure for Year 4 children, designed especially to help struggling or reluctant readers. To encourage a love of reading, each pupil will get their own monthly pack of books and activities over a six-month period.

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