North Wales Online Reading Trial Study – Trans Regional Implementation Project (NorthWORTS-TRIP) 2017-2018

Headsprout Project

What is NorthWORTS-TRIPP?

NorthWORTS-TRIP North Wales Online Reading Trial Study – Trans-Regional Implementation Project) is designed to help support primary schools to improve the standard of reading for children across the North Wales region.

This is an ambitious implementation project that is the first of its kind in Wales, and is part of the larger vision of the Collaborative Inistitute for Education Research Evidence and Impact (CIEREI) to place North Wales at the centre of large-scale evidence based educational interventions.

The project will help schools implement an evidence-based reading programme called Headsprout Early Reading (HER). HER is an English language reading and comprehension teaching programme that has already been used successfully to improve the reading skills of pupils in schools across North Wales. HER delivers computer assisted supplementary reading instruction that takes beginning readers to a Year 3 reading standard. Some of the research work in North Wales to date has been published in peer reviewed research journals and has focused not only on the reading outcomes for children, but also on the key factors that lead to it being successfully implemented across typical school settings in North Wales. This proposal is a collaboration between GwE, CIEREI: (Bangor University), and the University of Warwick, and is a continuation of previous Headsprout projects.

This project provides schools with high quality training and set-up support for Headsprout Early Reading to enable schools to implement the programme effectively, based on experience of working with more than 50 schools and hundreds of children.

What is the primary outcome of NorthWORTS-TRIPP?

  • To improve pupils’ reading skills in the target group, with a focus on eFSM and/or struggling readers.
  • To provide schools with an evidence-based reading intervention that they are able to deploy effectively.
  • For a nominal financial investment, to enable a large number of schools across the region to access implementation training to use the programme effectively in the target group.
  • To leave schools with a legacy of an evidence-based reading intervention, and trained staff
  • To enable schools to improve their impact assessments through the use of robust evaluation techniques.

Headsprout Early Reading Project

What is Headsprout and how will it benefit pupils in my school?

Headsprout Early Reading is an online, computer-delivered programme developed by experts in the application of learning sciences to education. The programmes have been designed to include the elements research indicates are important to success in reading, and they provide individualised teaching that can be delivered with minimal support from staff trained in using Headsprout.

Headsprout Early Reading (HER) comprises 80 lessons and is designed to take beginning readers to the equivalent of Year 3 reading standard in 30 hours of individual instruction. The programme has undergone extensive and rigorous evaluation that has demonstrated it to be effective for many children (see publication info below).

Headsprout may assist schools in the following ways:

  • To improve the attainment in reading skills for selected pupils not making age appropriate progress.
  • To enable targeted pupils to access other areas of the curriculum through improvement in reading skills.
  • To promote the use of evidence-based interventions to raise standards in reading and comprehension (cf. Sutton Trust and Welsh Government pupil deprivation grant priority).
  • To provide high quality, cost effective, individualised instruction to children.

How do we know that Headsprout is effective?

Headsprout has a growing evidence base, with a number of controlled studies demonstrating positive outcomes. The School of Psychology at Bangor University has been piloting Headsprout programmes with more than 50 schools in North Wales over recent years, with encouraging findings indicating the programme can be effective for many children, including typically developing beginning readers, older struggling readers, and children with autism and/or intellectual disability.

Outcomes from several Headsprout projects in North Wales have been published in peer reviewed journals, including data from the 2015 Conwy schools’ project and a small randomised trial evaluation of the use of Headsprout as a catch-up reading intervention:

Watkins, R. C., Hulson-Jones, A., Tyler, E., Hastings, R. P., Beverley, M. and Hughes, J. C. (2016). Evaluation of an online reading programme to improve pupils’ reading skills in primary schools: Outcomes from two implementation studies. Wales Journal of Education vol. 18(2), 81-104

Tyler, E. J., Hughes, J. C., Beverley, M., & Hastings, R. P. (2015). Improving early reading skills for beginning readers using an online programme as supplementary instruction. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 30, 281-294.

Which pupils will benefit from Headsprout Early Reading (HER) intervention?

HER is designed to take pupils from beginning reading to a reading fluency equivalent to 7-8 years of age. HER can be used with pupils of any age who have not yet acquired reached a reading fluency equivalent to 7-8 years of age. (We have also used it successfully with struggling readers of upper primary and lower secondary age.). When schools sign up to the project, we will provide more information about how to identify children suitable for this project.