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. 

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 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 do so.

Is pupil data shared? Is it GDPR compliant?

All data is collected and stored using Google’s Firebase. By creating or linking a Google account with Track My Read, the school is agreeing to Google Firebase’s standard terms, including the processing and storing of any uploaded data. When you first log in, you will be asked to confirm that you are happy with this. 

Only the person that uploads the data can access individual pupil data via their password-protected Track My Read account. No sensitive data is shared externally or published online. 

  • Once pupil data is uploaded, each pupil name is given an auto-generated, anonymous Reader ID, which is shared with Read for Good.
  • The Google log-in is used to identify the person using the tool, and allow them to access their school’s data. 

You upload pupils’ first names, last names and class or year group to Track My Read. This creates a unique URL link for each participating pupil. This link becomes their login and their way to record reading sessions, so there is no need for pupil user names, emails or passwords.

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. It looks like this:

Schools should ensure that uploading data to Google Firebase meets their own data protection policy.

(Note – now that we have left the EU, The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) continues to apply to UK data. The provisions of the EU GDPR have been incorporated directly into UK law. The UK GDPR sits alongside the DPA 2018 with some technical amendments so that it works in a UK-only context. Source: ICO.)

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.

  • If you have an existing Google / Gmail account (whether a school one or a personal one), use this to sign in. Once you’ve signed in on a device, it should remember you. 
  • If you don’t already have a Google / Gmail account, you can use any existing email address (again school or personal) to create a Google / Gmail account, which will not only give you access to Track My Read, but also to Google’s free services.
  • If you don’t want to use an existing email address, you can create a new Google / Gmail account just for Track My Read. We do not currently send emails as part of Track My Read, so it would purely be a way to login and you would not need to monitor the inbox.

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.

We hope to offer more sign in options in the future.

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:

  • Add each pupil manually, in the section headed up ‘Add Track My Read Participants’. Simply add First Name, Last Name, and Year Group or Class (which can also be House or similar) if you’ve chosen those options. As soon as you start typing in a name, a new row appears for the next pupil’s details.
  • Alternatively, if you have an existing MS Excel spreadsheet of pupil names, then use this.
    • Take your existing pupil spreadsheet, save it as something new, then delete any unnecessary columns.
    • Track My Read just wants three columns – (i) First Name, (ii) Last Name, and (iii) Class OR Year Group.
    • Once you have those columns, go to Save As and choose “CSV (Comma delimited)” option. The spreadsheet will still look the same, but means Track My Read can import all the columns as is. It sometimes comes up with a warning that some features will be lost, are you happy to continue – just say yes to this, and it should be saved.
    • Go back to your Track My Read set up, click on upload CSV, and then locate the file just created and your pupils are uploaded.

Please note – once you’ve got pupils listed, uploading another file will delete existing data including any reading data. However, you can add extra participants manually at any time. 

What does grouping by Year Group or Class mean?

If you opt to add pupils grouped by Year Group or Class, it simply means that you are able to sort the reading data results by Year Group or Class using MS Excel or similar, when you download the Results or the Participant data.

To sort by Year Group or Class, download the spreadsheet, and using the Sorting function to sort by different columns. This applies to both the Results data and the Participant data. 

Track My Read does not yet carry out this analysis – but we hope to add analytics in the future.

Use ‘Class’ if you want to sort by House or any other named group.

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. 

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 analyse and compare results by Class or Year Group (as long as you have uploaded Class or Year Group data), but only by downloading the Results spreadsheets in MS Excel, sorting the results and manually working out leader groups etc. This depends on how confident you are with Excel and how frequently you want to analyse results. 

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 MS Excel and conduct further analysis, but you have ready-made summary that gives an instant overview of each Track My Read that looks like this:

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. Let us know what you choose – we’re really interested to know what works for different schools!

How do I send pupils their unique URL link?

Once you have added participants to Track My Read, each will have a unique URL address that enables them to record their reading sessions. Each pupil will use their own unique URL each time they want to record a reading session. There are no pupil emails, users names or passwords involved in Track My Read. 

To see the unique URLs, go to the ‘Participants / Invites’ tab of your Track My Read, and you’ll see a list of pupils and their URLs.

There are various ways to get the URLs out to pupils:

    • Click on the link symbol next to each name. This copies the link so that it can be sent by email. This is useful if you only have a small number of participants.
    • For larger numbers, you can download a spreadsheet of links. Just click ‘Download data’ and this will generate an Excel spreadsheet in your downloads. You can sort this spreadsheet by any of the columns so it can be alphabetical or by class. Many schools, especially those with IT support, can create a mail-merged email to pupils with their unique code as a clickable link, so all pupils have to do is click the link to log into their unique area. 
  • Or you can use the downloaded spreadsheet (see previous bullet point) and send this as an entire document to all pupils so each pupil just has to find their name, and copy and paste their unique link (which has their name at the end as a double check).
  • Alternatively, you could print the downloaded spreadsheet (see earlier bullet point) and cut it into strips and hand each pupil their unique URL

Once pupils have logged in once, they are encouraged (via Track My Read) to bookmark the link, or they can always go back to the email and click it again. 

We do recognise this is not the most straightforward process for all schools. With limited budgets, we focused our resources on the reading features for pupils and teachers. However, we hope to make this process easier soon and appreciate your patience. 

We hope Track My Read will provide you with such good reading behaviour data, that it will be worth the effort! 

What does a pupil see when they log in?

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

https://trackmyread.org/r/dQ8f5n39f62S5qXAtzzr_THoKBirMX0fj1L7WKRNe/joe-bloggs

Pupils will get different screens each time they log some reading (up to a point), with different images and messages, recognising their reading progress. We hope this will keep them coming back time and again.

In time, we have all sorts of plans to make this element a little more more exciting for regular users, so for now, it will also need your encouragement to regularly record reading sessions. But we think the data you will get back will be all the motivation you need!

Pupils are getting an invalid message?

If pupils are getting a message to say that their link is “not a valid Track My Read” like this:

Don’t worry – this can be fixed! It simply means that your Track My Read’s Close Date has passed. 

Just go into “Edit Track My Read” and you can change the “Close Date” to a date in the future. Ensure the “Enable Track My Read” tick box is also ticked at the bottom of that page, and “Save”. The links should work again!
 
This feature is designed to prevent data being accidentally added to old Track My Reads in the future. 

What reading behaviour data will I see and how do I access it?

In the Results section of Track My Read, you will see all the completed reading sessions – either as an overview by student, or for all sessions.

These results can be simply downloaded and analysed using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets or similar. If you have opted to group pupils by Year Group or Class, you can analyse results by different groups (within Excel or Sheets).

We hope to bring more analytical features to the dashboard in the future, but for now analysis is done in Excel or Sheets.

You will be able to see

    • How each pupil chose to read (audio book, being read to, magazine, online article, book etc.)
    • What pupils chose to read (title)
    • How many minutes pupils spent reading (up to a maximum of 60 minutes)
  • How much they enjoyed it, on a 5- emoji scale!

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?

Currently, there is not a way to delete unwanted Track My Reads. As a brand new tool, and given a limited budget, we had to prioritise the features that we included. We focused on the the reading features meaning that some of the normal ‘back end’ features you’d expect aren’t quite there yet, but we are working on them. 

If you Edit your Track My Read, and ensure the Close Date is in the past, then it means no-one can accidentally enter any reading data it.

We will update this page when deleting Track My Read is possible. Thanks for bearing with us. 

Can I give admin access to another person

It is not currently possible to share admin rights with another person. This is to ensure the security of the pupil data stored in the school’s Track My Read. We are exploring ways to add this feature in the future. In the meantime, you can share the Public Dashboard to show results, and you are free to share the downloaded results spreadsheets which includes all pupil reading data, in line with your own data policy. 

What is the public dashboard?

The public dashboard is a one page summary showing the current status of the Track My Read. You can choose to enable your public dashboard, which allows you to share this overview of your Track My Read with parents, pupils, staff and the wider community. In turn they can then share it on Twitter or via email. If you don’t want this to be an option, just uncheck the ‘Enable Public Dashboard’ in the Edit section of Track My Read.

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. Both tools are completely separate (we hope they might be integrated in the future). 

They both work really well on their own, but together, it’s like Sam and Frodo…. they bring out the best in each other! 🙂

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

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

Promote it in regular newsletters, emails and social media – the more it’s used, the more successful it will be. 

I already have a Readathon portal account - can I use that?

We have purposefully kept Track My Read separate to Readathon to ensure that it is completely 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.

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!

Here’s a simple instruction sheet for parents setting it up for their families.  And here’s a link to a video showing you how to use Track My Read as a family or small group. 

This short video walks you through Track My Read for schools – how to set it up, what pupils see and what reading data you will see.

And this video is a guide for parents, carers and small groups to use Track My Read.