BookTrust Research Digest - August 2017
Published on: 08 August 2017 Author: Robbie Hunt
Time to Read – an evaluation of the bookgifting element of the campaign
BookTrust conduct year on year monitoring and evaluation of our programmes and campaigns. The following summary presents the key impact and delivery findings from the bookgifting element of the new Time to Read campaign – gathered through teacher, parent and librarian surveys, and achieving response numbers of 147, 151 and 122 respectively.
Although the relatively small numbers of responses mean these findings are not generalisable to all participants of Time to Read, they are sufficient to identify patterns and draw some tentative conclusions - giving a good indication of impact, offering valuable insight for improving the bookgifting initiative and identifying areas for further study.
Key impact findings:
Positive reading experiences - High percentages of teachers, librarians and parents reported that the Time to Read bookgifting initiative had generated enthusiasm for the books, and positive reading experiences in the classroom, library setting and home.
'Children find it really exciting and it encourages reading at home'
'Our children really treasure their books/packs and talk about them often during the year and later in their school careers'.
'My son was delighted to receive the Time to Read pack and we read Kitchen Disco as soon as he opened it. It really caught his imagination and after a few reads he began to recite the words with me'.
Reading for pleasure more often. All parent respondents were already highly engaged with reading for pleasure, and reading frequently with their children, indicating a potential ceiling effect (no room to improve) for these respondents. This ties in with wider nationally representative research which shows that shared reading between parent/carer and child is at its highest at ages 4-5, with 89% of parents/carers of 5 year olds reading with or to their child every day or several times a week (Eliot, 2015). Despite this, positive improvements were still reported:
- 30% of parent respondents felt motivated to read more as a result of Time to Read
The teacher survey asked respondents to report on observations of their whole class of students, and therefore reflects a wider range of children and families than were reached through the parent survey (including the minorities who are less engaged with reading). This may account for the higher percentages of teachers reporting improvements:
- 58% of teacher respondents agreed that Time to Read increased the frequency of shared reading for pleasure at home.
Minimal increases in knowledge about books. High percentages of teachers and parents saw Book Trust as a trusted source of information for book recommendations and guidance on reading for pleasure. However, only small numbers of parents (19%) reported using the online bookfinder (highlighted in the packs) to discover new age appropriate books. More exploration of this could be beneficial to understand why there was low usage, as well as considering ways to further highlight BookTrust's online content to this audience.
Key delivery findings:
Teachers use the initiative to generate enthusiasm for reading in the classroom. The books were mostly gifted after reading the story in the classroom (by 67% of teacher respondents), and many comments from teachers focussed on the importance of generating excitement during this process, for example:
'In essence, it has to be seen as a special event and given due time and energy. To develop the power of reading we have to excite the children and ensure the parents mirror their excitement with their involvement'.
'The packs are great, and reading the book in class beforehand really makes the children enthusiastic about the story'.
Libraries use the initiative to engage new children/families with reading for pleasure and the library. Nearly all library respondents reported that holding a Time to Read event had helped to promote the library and its services, and 77% reported that it helped them to make contact with parents/children who did not previously use the library. Two thirds of library respondents (61%) also reported that it had increased library membership and 59% that it had increased library loans of the children/parents/carers. They also gave positive feedback on the resources, for example:
'The resources are fantastic and an easy way for us to promote the library service along with the reading for pleasure/sharing reading message to children, parents and teachers. Ensures that schools make the most of the Time to Read resources and makes the book more memorable for children.'
Recommendations for the campaign include further support for teachers to generate enthusiasm and engagement amongst their class, and better signposting to existing resources where this is high demand but low awareness. For the 2017-18 evaluation, we are considering ways to reach a wider range of parents, including the minorities of harder to reach parents, who are less engaged with reading with their children.
The Research team