Track My Read – FAQs

We’ve tried to make Track My Read intuitive and simple to use. However, there are bound to be questions! If your question isn’t covered below, please email justine@readforgood.org and we’ll come back to you as quickly as possible. 

Download our User Guide – it might seem like a lot, but we believe if you work through this, you will have mastered all things Track My Read!

What is Track My Read?

Track My Read is a simple, intuitive web-based tool designed to encourage pupils to read for fun, and at the same time, provide schools with useful reading behaviour insights.

Is it free?

Yes! It is entirely free of charge and we hope it always will be. We have developed it to encourage reading for pleasure, Read for Good’s charitable objective, and we hope it will be used widely by schools and pupils to help achieve this.

Is pupil data shared? Is it GDPR compliant?

Only admins of a school’s Track My Read can access individual pupil data via a password-protected Track My Read account. No sensitive data is shared externally or published online. The only data used is a pupil’s First Name, Last Name, Class and Year, along with any reading data pupil’s provide. Once pupil data is uploaded, each pupil name is given an auto-generated, anonymous Reader ID, which is shared with Read for Good.

You upload pupils’ first names, last names and class or year group to Track My Read. This creates a user name and passcode for each participating pupil, which becomes their unique login and their way to record reading sessions, Pupils do not supply their email addresses. Track My Read does not require pupil email addresses and no pupil email addresses are stored on Track My Read. 

Read for Good can only access anonymised reading data within the Track My Read application. This means we see the reading sessions but we have no named pupil data, and nowhere in the system does it associate a name with the reading data. 

There is a public dashboard to share with parents and pupils but it doesn’t show any individual data and it is GDPR compliant. You can choose to have this public dashboard enabled or not, but it must be enabled to participate in Group Challenges. 

Admin users of Track My Read must first agree to Terms and Conditions, and ensure use of Track My Read complies with their school policies.

Do I have to sign in with a Google Account?

Track My Read requires the organiser to have a Google account. Pupils do not need a Google account. You can use your existing school email address to create a Google account (or any other email address). You do NOT need an @gmail / @googlemail email address. 

Once signed in, you can create a new Track My Read, and access any current or past Track My Reads that you have set up.

How do I add pupils to take part in Track My Read?

You add named pupils (‘participants’) when you are setting up each Track My Read.  There are two ways to add pupils:

  • One by one, manually, by following the on-screen prompts (First name, Last name, Class, Year)
  • Or upload a CSV spreadsheet
    • First download our Track My Read CSV pupil template
    • Fill in the four columns, being careful not to change the column headings in Row 1
    • Save as a CSV file 
    • On the Add Pupils screen, click Browse and find the CSV file
    • Click Upload
    • If an error occurs, please check the four colums are headed up “First name, Last name, Class, Year” and that the file is saved as a CSV
  • You can edit, add or remove pupils at any time
  • Once pupils have been added to your school’s account, you can then invite them to participate in a Track My Read

How do pupils access Track My Read?

Once you have added participants to a Track My Read, they will have a user name and passcode. From the Track My Read Overview, go to View/Invite pupils. Share the school Track My Read link with all pupils. Each pupil will then need to log in with their own user name and passcode. To share these details with pupils:

  • Print a formatted list of user names and passcodes to cut up and give out to pupils
  • Reveal pupil codes on screens individually – invite pupils to your desk to show them their unique passcode and get them to write it down
  • Download a list of user names and passcodes as a spreadsheet if you have an IT team that can send individual links to pupils
  • Email pupils individually (the email addresses are a one-time use and will not be stored); emails will be sent from reading@readforgood.org so be sure that your email system and policies allow pupils to receive emails from external email addresses. We strongly recommend testing a pupil email send and ensuring it is received before working through all your pupils. 

Once pupils have logged in once, we suggest they bookmark the link on their device (Control D, saving to the home page etc.).

What does a pupil see when they log in?

The easiest way to explain it is to show you – here is a  link for a pretend pupil. Please feel free to click through and enter a reading session (it doesn’t matter what you enter) to see what pupils see. 

Joe Blogg’s reading log for School of Fun!

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This suggests that the user has parental controls set up. The user needs to ‘white list’ (approve) the URL https://trackmyread.org.

Why are pupils getting an invalid message?

If pupils are getting a message to say that their link is ‘not a valid Track My Read’, this can be easily fixed.  It simply means that the End Date of your Track My Reads has passed.  Just go to ‘Edit’ on My Dashboard and you can change the End Date to one in future and then ‘Update’. The link should work again. This feature is designed to prevent any data being accidentally added to an old Track My Read in the future.

Should I run it by class or by school?

This is really up to you, depending on how you’d prefer to have your results. Some schools introduce an element of competition and so separate Track My Reads work well, other schools want to unite as one body and want to see their overall results. We would suggest setting up a small trial to get going with Track My Read – once you get a feel for how it works, you’ll have a better idea of what will work best for you. 

For a single school Track My Read – upload one single spreadsheet of all pupils in a CSV with their first name, surname and class or year group (avoiding any duplicate names). For multiple Track My Reads across different classes, set up a new Track My Read for each, call each something distinctive and upload pupils for that class only. 

Pros and Cons:

A single school Track My Read:

  • Slightly less up front admin (just one Track my Read).
  • One overall school goal so you can really unite behind that goal.
  • Simpler reporting for the school as a whole – one set of results for the whole school.
  • You can still sort and analyse results by Class or Year Group. But you can’t display results unless you create your own graphs in Excel or similar.  

Multiple Track My Reads:

  • This is a little more onerous to set up.
  • Each Track My Read will have a visual summary of live results, so you can easily compare groups day by day.
  • You can still download results into Microsoft Excel and conduct further analysis, but you have ready-made summary that gives an instant overview.

So it’s really up to you, depending on how you want the Results, and how you want to share results with the rest of the school. 

You can also use our Group Challenge functionality, which enables you to set a Group Challenge across multiple schools or classes. See below for more information. 

What is a Group Challenge?

A Group Challenge is a new way to foster some healthy competition between classes, year groups, houses, or any other groups! It allows a number of Track My Reads to all contribute towards one overall reading goal. You can either join an existing Group Challenge with a Track My Read or set up an entirely new Group Challenge.

You can join an existing Group Challenge when you first set up a Track My Read, or you can join it at a later date. To join a Group Challenge, you must have the public dashboard enabled for your Track My Read and have the Group Challenge code from the person that set it up. 

To create a new Group Challenge, you can just click the ‘Group Challenges’ tab and then the ‘Create new Group Challenge’ button. Fill in the details and share the code with anyone who wants to join!

Your Track My Read can start earlier and/or end later than the Group Challenge, but only minutes read before the Group Challenge close date will count towards the Group Challenge. 

Can I add a whole load of minutes all at once?

If you have any reading time built into the timetable, such as Guided Reading sessions or a class reader, you can add that in as well so pupils know all their reading is counted.

From My Dashboard, go to ‘Bulk Reads’ and then complete the short form on the right with the details of the session, ie.  Guided Reading, and the duration of the reading time (in increments of 10 minutes).  Click +Add.

This time is not attributed to each individual pupil but does count towards your final reading target.

Can I give admin access to another person?

Yes! Under School Details you can add/invite colleagues to be administrators of the Track My Read. This is really useful if you job-share or want to share the responsibility with teachers of a particular year group. In particular, it means colleagues can help you to share pupil log in details. 

Why are pupils getting an invalid message?

If pupils are getting a message to say that their link is ‘not a valid Track My Read’, this can be easily fixed.  It simply means that the End Date of your Track My Reads has passed.  Just go to ‘Edit’ on My Dashboard and you can change the End Date to one in future and then ‘Update’. The link should work again. This feature is designed to prevent any data being accidentally added to an old Track My Read in the future.

Pupil gets an error message when submitting a reading.

This suggests that the user has parental control set up. The user needs to ‘white list’ (approve) both https://trackmyread.org and firestore.googleapis.com to fix it.

How do pupils bookmark their link to record minutes daily?

This depends on the device they are using. 

On a computer, when they use the link, there is a star on the right of the URL address, which allows them to bookmark the page. Alternatively, they can press CTRL D and this will also add the link to the bookmarks bar.

On an Iphone, a shortcut can be created by:

  • opening a web page in Safari or Chrome, or the browser of your choice
  • click on the share button (the box with the arrow pointing up)
  • Scroll down for options until you get to add to home screen
  • an icon should now be on your phone screen – you can now move this wherever you like eg. hold down until it wobbles then drag and drop onto your front screen.

You can also log into your personalised Track My Read link on a PC and create a useful link to have on your phone.  The little share arrow in a box to the right of the URL address gives the option to create a QR code. Scan this with your phone to open your personalised Track My Read link on your phone and then bookmark it. 

What reading behaviour data will I see?

In the Results section of your Track My Read, accessible from My Dashboard, you will see all the completed reading sessions either as an Overview by Pupil or for All Logged Sessions. You can sort by any column just by clicking on the up/down arrow to the right of the column header. 

The Overview by Pupil gives you a summary of each pupil’s reading so far – how many reading sessions they’ve logged, and how many minutes they’ve read in total. This is useful to spot pupils who aren’t participating as much as you’d like.

The All Logged Sessions provides details of each individual reading session. This is useful to share peer recommended reads and to understand how reading has made pupils feel. 

The data can then be downloaded by clicking on Download Data. You can then analyse or present the data using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets or similar.

The results can be used to start good conversations about books and reading, especially around recommendations and ratings. They can be used for parents evenings, as evidence of reading for pleasure for Ofsted, and to inform book buying decisions. We’d love to know how you use the results!

How should I set my reading target?

Keep the target achievable. You can always increase the target once you’ve got going. Consider what you think pupils are capable of, and whether you have an existing target time that you like them to read.

e.g.  if you have 30 pupils, and you want them to read for 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week, over 2 weeks that would be 30 pupils x 10 mins x 5 days x 2 weeks = 3,000 minutes.

If you have any reading time built in the timetable, you can add that in as well so pupils know all their reading is counted.

Can I delete unwanted Track My Reads?

Rather than delete a Track My Read, you can Archive it. Under the Edit function on My Dashboard, any Track My Read where the end date is in the past, can be archived by pressing the ‘Archive’ button in the bottom right corner. This will ensure that no one can accidentally enter any reading data to it during an active Track My Read, but would also enable you to review past Track My Reads if needed.

What is the public dashboard?

The Public Dashboard is a one-page summary showing the current status of the Track My Read, which allows you to share this overview of your Track My Read with parents, pupils, staff and the wider school community. You can choose to enable your Public Dashboard through your particular Track My Read (Edit function on My Dashboard). In turn, they can share it on Twitter or via e-mail: they cannot edit any of the information.   If you don’t want this to be an option just uncheck the ‘Enable Public Dashboard’ in the Edit section of My Dashboard.

If you wish to join a Group Challenge however, you must have enabled the Public Dashboard on your Track My Read. The Public Dashboard does not show or link to any individual’s data.

The public dashboard does not show or link to any individual’s data.

How does this work with Readathon?

We see Track My Read and Readathon as perfect partners.  Track My Read is a great way to measure the reading that takes place during Readathon, and Readathon is a great tool to encourage the daily use of Track My Read by pupils.

However, both tools are completely separate and one does not substitute for the other. They both bring out the best in each other but work really well on their own.

I have a Readathon Portal account - can I use that?

We have purposefully kept Track My Read accounts separate to Readathon Portal accounts to ensure that Track My Read is accessible to as many people as possible.

Although they complement each other perfectly, currently Track My Read is entirely independent of Readathon. In time we hope that logging into the Portal will also enable access to Track My Read.

How do I promote Track My Read to parents & pupils?

As ever, the more parents and pupils that know about Track My Read, the more likely they are to support it. We’ve put together a simple one-page information sheet for parents and for pupils to help you – available as a Word document for you to edit and tailor to your school and or a standardised PDF version to use as it is.

Promote Track My Read in regular newsletters, emails and social media – the more it’s used, the more successful it will be. Use in conjunction with the Public Dashboard which allows you to share information and results.

I am not from a school - can I use Track My Read?

Yes!

Although originally designed for schools, any group, team, book club or family can use it. One person needs to set it up – just enter your group’s name where it asks for ‘School Name’ and you’ll have the chance to enter it manually. Job done.

Think of it as Strava for reading!