Let Readathon help with Ofsted’s Deep Dive

Former Teachers and now part of Read for Good’s team, Caroline Sence and Lucy Robinson explain how our Readathon and Track My Read can help teachers to provide evidence of their school’s approach to reading for pleasure for Ofsted’s Deep Dive, launched in 2019 as a part of the new ‘Education Inspection Framework’. Both Twinkl’s Deep Dive SEF’, designed to help schools prepare for Ofsted and The Key have some useful questions related to reading Deep Dives.

Teachers and School Librarians who have run Readathon, or used Track My Read strongly agree that they can help support a school’s evidence for Ofsted’s deep dive. Here’s how….

How is reading promoted to pupils?

Readathon encourages children to read whatever they enjoy; from comics to classics and audio books to blogs. It also helps pupils to see the positive benefits of reading, both for themselves and for others.

Track My Read is a tool to help encourage regular reading across the whole class or school. Think of it as Strava for reading – it encourages daily reading with each pupil contributing to their school’s total.

Encouraging good reading habits at home & school

Readathon can involve the whole school, parents and wider community, as reading takes place both at home and in school and most importantly involves pupils choosing for themselves what they want to read and when they want to read.

Track My Read encourages pupils to record their reading regularly – ideally every day – and in particular at home. The nature of recording the reading, with an overall collective goal, helps to spotlight the importance of reading regularly.  

How is reading shown to be valued and important?

Readathon brings schools and whole communities together and promotes the myriad benefits of reading, whilst raising money for schools and hospitals. Through watching the Read for Good DVD which shows how taking part in Readathon helps to provide books for children in hospital, pupils develop an understanding of the wider benefits of reading for those children and their families.

Track My Read also unites the school in a collective purpose – tapping into the benefits of setting a group challenge, and the feeling that everyone can make a valuable contribution. Track My Read also (perhaps uniquely) highlights the value of different reading materials – comics, magazines, being read to, reading to someone else, even online blogs – all types of reading has a value. 

Do pupils see staff reading for pleasure?

Lots of teachers model reading during Readathon and many schools also hold a Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) during their  Readathon – so BAM! pupils see staff reading for pleasure!

Track My Read works best when the school works as a collective community – we’ve had schools involve teachers and support staff in their Track My Read, showing that it is important for everyone to read regularly. 

Are the children encouraged to read for pleasure?

Yes, through Readathon pupils choose to read what they love and are motivated to read because of Readathon’s unique model which encourages pupils to raise sponsorship through reading, in order to provide books for children in hospital.

Track My Read is a tangible demonstration of encouraging children to read for pleasure. Pupils are given encouraging and reinforcing messages every time they complete a reading session, as well as contributing to the school’s overall reading target. We hope the initial motivation then transforms into a regular habit. The Teacher will see who is reading what, and who is not reading, and can use that data to be better able to tailor support. Track My Read does not rely on any reading assessment – the pupil is free to comment as they wish, empowering pupils to better understand their relationship with pleasure reading and books, what they enjoy and what they don’t. 

Is a reading culture embedded? How do you know?

Yes! Through Readathon! (which is especially true for the many schools which run Readathon annually). By involving parents,and the wider staff community over several weeks, Readathon helps a school to make a statement about its reading culture and helps to establish sustainable reading habits.

Track My Read is a very visual representation of how seriously reading is taken by a school – it galvanizes the community to get involved and to be counted, and it attaches a value to reading, in a way that is usually reserved for sporting achievements. It helps celebrate greatness in reading! 

Is reading well-resourced?

Resources provided when a school runs Readathon include inspiring posters and bookmarks with motivational messages about reading, and which promote a love of reading, as well as entertaining filmed messages by popular children’s authors to engage pupils in reading. There are many more resources available on the Read for Good website. Plus, when a school runs Readathon, it receives free books for the school library!

Track My Read is a free resource to schools that provides valuable reading behaviour insights – who is reading, for how long, how frequently, what they are reading and how much they enjoyed it. Teachers and School Librarians can analyse this data to see what pupils are reading, and what they are enjoying reading. It can inform future book buying choices, and provide peer-to-peer reading recommendations. 

Pupil voice: involving pupils, changing attitudes

When pupils take part in Readathon they are encouraged to choose from a wide variety of reading materials and chose whatever they want to read. Research by the National Literacy Trust (2017) shows that pupils taking part in Readathon have improved attitudes to reading, read more often and more widely and enjoy reading more as a result.

Track My Read engages pupils in reading – and empowers them – pupils complete their own reading record, rather than relaying on a parent’s assessment of their reading traditionally written in a reading record. Pupils are invited to rate their enjoyment of their reading with a simple emoji rating. This acknowledges that reading different material can be enjoyed differently, perhaps helping reluctant readers to identify reading that they have enjoyed.  Each pupil can see their impact on the school’s collective goal, and feel they are contributing. Teachers have data that they can use to celebrate success. 

Schools up and down the country have long enjoyed the benefits of running Readathon to help promote a culture of reading for pleasure. We’re delighted that it can now also helps teachers, librarians and schools to evidence their commitment to reading for pleasure to Ofsted.

With the introduction of Track My Read, which can be used with or without Readathon, we are providing schools with more tools to evidence how they value and promote reading for pleasure. 

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