First News is an award-winning national UK newspaper for children. The National Literacy Trust was commissioned by First News to conduct an evaluation of how taking part in First News activities in school affects pupils’ reading skills and attitudes towards reading and their attitudes to newspapers. Our evaluation showed a significant positive impact on children’s reading attitudes, behaviour and confidence.
The evaluation took place between February and July 2015 with a sample of more than 500 pupils, most of whom were in Year 4 or 5 (aged 8 to 10). First News activities were delivered in class over eight weeks, with pre and post-project reading skills measured using the digital New Group Reading Test (NGRT), and attitudinal changes through a quantitative online survey.
Findings showed that children’s reading progressed significantly over the eight-week period of activity, with the average standard score increasing from 113.16 to 115.32. Pupils showed particular gains in reading comprehension and inferential skills, and reported reading more widely (particularly non-fiction) after having taken part in the activity.