Vision for Literacy Business Pledge 2017: Spotlight on Egmont Publishing
Posted by Danielle Wright
10 Apr 2017
Egmont UK is a specialist children’s publisher and passionate advocate of children reading for pleasure. Egmont has been a signatory of the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge since its inception in 2016. As part of the publisher’s commitment to increasing literacy levels, Egmont carried out a research study, Print Matters More, which was run in collaboration with Foyles Bookshops.
The aim of the study was to find out if the emotions that reading with a child inspires can influence behaviour change and encourage more reading and book buying. Egmont worked with 15 families with children aged 7-9 years old from July 2016 until January 2017. All families were reluctant readers in some way – for example, some families included parents who were time poor and rarely got involved with their children’s reading, or children who were struggling to read or were disengaged with it.
How did the study work?
The project was run in two parts. For part one, families were given a £10 voucher each week for six weeks for their child to spend on a new book from their local Foyles bookstore. All of the parents taking part agreed to read with their child for 20 minutes each day. At the end of the holiday, each family received £100 as a thank you for taking part. This approach created a shared reading routine for the families and a regular bookshop experience.
Part two of the project was held after the school holiday ended. The families were left to do as they wished without prompting or incentivising them. The aim was to see if the experience of reading and buying regularly over the summer would be enough to change their behaviour. Would the reading and buying habit carry on? Also, would the families notice any impact on academic progress once their children were back at school?
What did the study find?
The summer holiday six-week intervention had had a major impact:
- The children loved being physically close with their parents and having their focused attention during the reading sessions.
- Real behaviour change was noticed, including children switching to chapter books, reading independently, reading of their own volition and reading more.
- Seeing their child’s enthusiasm for choosing books and being read to had a profound effect on parents. They really appreciated spending the time with their child, sharing the experience together.
After the summer holidays the families were left on their own, to see if the impact on the child’s reading and on the parent-child relationship would be enough to keep the reading routine going:
- In all the families, the children continued to enjoy reading for pleasure and there was progress in ability and in confidence with 14 of the children.
- The children spent more time reading and read more often.
- As well as reading, the children’s comprehension, spelling, vocabulary and maths improved.
- Parents said that they believed the focus on reading together had significantly increased their child's interest in reading.
- Parents saw reading to their child as much less of a chore than they previously did, rather, they enjoyed the time.
- Eight parents bought children books as Christmas gifts and 12 of the children received books for Christmas. This was a change for the families: books had not featured so strongly as gifts for previous Christmases.
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