For an overview of Bug Club and more information on the research, read our research report
We wanted to explore if use of Bug Club helps students improve their literacy. During 2015 and 2016, we collaborated with UCL Institute of Education (IOE), to conduct a multi-approach evaluation of Bug Club. The evaluation aimed to understand the impact of Bug Club on pupils’ literacy learning, their attitudes to reading and school and their reading activity.
The study was made up of a randomised control trial, including external assessments at the baseline and then after 5.5 months, 12 months and 18 months.
The process evaluation consisted of a number of case studies. In the first year, researchers conducted observations and interviews at 10 schools, chosen for a variety of characteristics. At the end of the second year, they went into six case study schools that were chosen because of their high-reading gains to try to better understand how pupils in these schools had made such progress.
Bug Club is designed to enhance reading skills, through features like guided reading and phonically decodable books. We hypothesised that pupils who learn with Bug Club would show greater reading achievement gains.
Researchers found that after 5.5 and 12 months, Bug Club pupils made significantly more progress in reading compared to pupils not using Bug Club. The increased progress of Bug Club users was not observed from 12 to 18 months, where instead progress continued as expected. After five terms of using Bug Club, pupils in the Bug Club programme were 11 months ahead of their expected age equivalent reading score.
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After 5.5 months, pupils using Bug Club made significantly greater progress in their reading than children in schools not using Bug Club, as measured by the InCAS standardised reading assessment.
After 12 months, pupils using Bug Club continued to make highly statistically significant gains in their reading when compared to pupils not using Bug Club, as measured by the InCAS standardised reading assessment.
After 18 months, pupils using Bug Club made significantly greater progress in their picture vocabulary than children in schools not using Bug Club.
After five terms, pupils in the Bug Club programme were 11 months ahead on their expected age equivalent reading score, relative to their chronological age, as measured by the InCAS standardised reading assessment.
After 5.5 and 12 months, Bug Club made a statistically significant impact on the reading gains of children in receipt of pupil premium, as measured by the InCAS standardised reading assessment.
Jill Watson, Head Teacher at Lent Rise found that when using Bug Club, many of the school’s comparative Early Years Foundation Stage e-profile scores showed a noticeable improvement compared to previous years.
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— Jill Watson, Head Teacher at Lent Rise County Combined School, Buckinghamshire, UK
— Wendy Jenkins, Literacy Coordinator at Bangor Central Integrated Primary School, UK
Wendy Jenkins, Literacy Coordinator at Bangor Central Integrated Primary School, found that the quality and wide range of Bug Club books saw her children dramatically improve their attitude to reading.
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