Phoenix Infant Academy is based in a deprived area in Slough and have been one of our school partners for 3 years. We were delighted when they signed up to be part of our digital reading log pilot in January. Not only have they had nearly 2500 reading log entries but their engagement in the Learning with Parents programme has more than doubled since they launched the log with families.
Chris Burrows, a Year 1 teacher, told us how using the digital reading log has changed and impacted the reading at their school and for their families.
The advantages of a digital reading log over paper
Previously, we were using paper reading logs which were just a way of families recording when they were reading with their child. The audio clips and comments that families can leave on the Learning with Parents platform is making feedback from parents much more meaningful. These features are motivating parents and children to read at home too – they enjoy recording reading and taking pictures of the books they read! As a result, we are seeing families engage in reading at home who were not previously doing so. One parent recently told me “It is simple to use, and I like being able to see what they read at school too.”
Not only have we seen families leaving comments about their phonics and reading scheme books, but they are also recording other reading such as their library books, poetry books, chapter books and they were not doing this on the paper log.
Encouraging positive attitudes to reading
Further to this, the Learning with Parents reading log is having such a positive impact on children’s enthusiasm for reading. It has been lovely to see how proud they are when sharing their audio recordings of their reading at home with their teachers and with each other. When pupils read with the teacher in school the reading log is a useful prompt for them to talk about their reading at home.
Thanks to the reading log, family engagement in the Learning with Parents Maths and English activities has also significantly increased. In my class, parents face lots of barriers to engaging in their children’s learning, such as having English as an additional language and limited access to technology. I only had 5 or 6 families consistently taking part in programme. Since using the reading log, I now have 23 families doing the activities which shows just how accessible the log is for families – they can use it on their phone and is suitable for those that lack confidence with technology and English.
It has been really straightforward getting families set up on the log. We invited parents to an event after school drop off where we showed them the reading log and got them signed up. We then used Class Dojo to reach parents who could not attend and we continue to mention it at parents’ meetings, in newsletters and on our website
Saving time for teachers
All teachers have now switched to the digital reading log and they have found it has significantly reduced their workload around reading. Tracking children’s weekly reading amounts at home and in school has become much easier. Children need to have read 2 times a week in school and 5 times at home and the symbols on the ‘reading page’ mean we are able to quickly identify the children who have not read enough that week.
It has been a great tool to use for assessments too. When assessing the children’s reading, we can use the recordings left by families on the online log. It has really saved our workload!
Overall, the reading log is an effective tool in not only recording and assessing children’s reading but also in strengthening the link between home and school. It has opened a dialogue about reading between teachers and parents and we can see that this is having an impact on parental engagement in learning.
*In line with our safeguarding policy, children featured do not attend the school mentioned.