I've not posted on here for a while (due to the joy of report writing) but feel the need to today as our first Dads & Lads Reading Group has just finished. Evaluation: Huge success! We had 100% attendance from everyone. The pupils and parents all kept a reading record during the group (some more conscientiously than others) and the feedback from the dads at the end showed that they had all spent more time reading with their child than normal. Obviously the key question for next year is whether it will be sustained. The ten-pin bowling celebration event at the end was an obvious highlight, but the space-themed event was another favourite. A real unexpected bonus was how well the group bonded. New friendships were formed between the children and, equally as importantly, between the adults too.
I've copied my original proposal below to try and explain what it was all about. I'm already looking forward to running a similar project for girls in the new school year. If you want to try and introduce something similar in your school, please feel free to contact me if you need any ideas or support.
Intended outcomes of the project
The boys that take part will enjoy reading more, have more positive attitudes to reading and read more often than they did before.
The male family members that take part will feel that their involvement has resulted in their boys enjoying reading more.
The male family members that take part will feel that they have a better relationship with the school and are more engaged with their boys’ education.
There will be an increase in the reading level of the boys that take part (beyond the anticipated level of progress).
January- June 2014
Approximately 8 boys from Year 5/6 + dad/step-dad/other male adult
The project is split into two parts.
Events in School
There are five events that the pairs will attend. Four of these are to be held in school, one at the local library. Each event has a different theme, for example, football or rocket building. The boys and men work together in pairs on activities which are linked with this theme. All of the events will last for approximately one hour, and will be held on a Friday afternoon (every other week?). Time will be built in as part of every session to allow reading books from library to be chosen.
Reading at home
Each pair to agree that between the events they will read together for 10 minutes, several times a week. Every time that the pair read together for 10 minutes, they will make a note of this in their record books.
The five events will be based around the following themes:
Event 1: Making rockets (slightly longer session to meet with adults first)
Event 2: Trip to the library
Event 3: Football themed event
Event 4: Paper aeroplane event
Event 5: Mystery event
If a suitable sponsor/donor can be found, there will also be a celebration event at the end of the project.
Recruitment and retention is key!
Making the adults feel at ease is important (non-threatening).
Use the school-based events to support the reading going on at home.
Competitions are popular!
Inform and engage other stakeholders (library, etc).
Gather ongoing evidence by keeping a log of activity and taking photos to create a portfolio at the end of the project.
Upon completion of the five events in school and the reading at home, the boys and adults will be awarded with a certificate in a (whole) school assembly. Pairs to receive a £10 book token as an incentive to continue reading.
Discussion with the adults before the first session (expectations, concerns, etc).
Interview with the boys before first session, measuring attitudes to reading.
Focus group with the adults after the final session.
Interviews with the boys after the final session, measuring attitudes to reading.
8 x £10 book tokens, maximum £80
Resources for each session (between £10-£15 per week), maximum £60.