We worked with Innovations for Learning to explore the benefits of TutorMate – an online reading support intervention for Year 1 pupils. TutorMate uses volunteer tutors from blue chip companies to deliver enjoyable reading sessions to young children, all entirely online.
This report evaluates the impact of the TutorMate pilot programme on the reading skills and reading enjoyment of Year 1 pupils in nine schools in Bradford and London during the 2018/19 academic year.
Our evaluation found that, in comparison with their classmates who didn’t participate in the programme, Year 1 pupils who took part in TutorMate showed:
- Twice the rate of increase in their reading enjoyment levels (19.9% vs 9.9%)
- Twice the rate of increase in their self-reported reading skill (34.5% vs 16.7%)
- A statistically significant higher rate of progression in their reading skills
Participating teachers and volunteers also reported positive experiences and perceptions of TutorMate:
- All teachers believed TutorMate had been beneficial for participating pupils
- Most teachers said that participating in TutorMate had increased pupils’ reading confidence (66.7%), reading enjoyment (58.3%) and comprehension and phonics skills (58.3%)
- All volunteers believed their volunteering had made a positive difference for the child or children they worked with
- When asked about what they valued about participating in TutorMate, 90.7% of volunteers said it had been the chance to support a child directly and 58.7% valued the flexibility of being able to volunteer from their desk
- 100% of volunteers said they would recommend the programme to a friend