Rugby League Reads Research

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Rugby League Reads Research

Post by Redszone on Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:19 am

New research has shown that Rugby League is having a dramatic impact in motivating children to read.

The Rugby League Reads program introduced in 2010 sees names like Benji Marshall, Scott Prince, Roy Asotasi, Matt Cooper, Billy Slater and Jerome Ropati feature in a series of English Syllabus-focused magazines, complementary teaching resources and a set of home readers that are inspiring children to read and improve their literacy skills.

Research undertaken by the Australian Catholic University revealed that 85% of teachers reported that boys identified as reluctant readers were more likely to read as a result of the magazine and book series which focuses on Rugby League.
Furthermore, 90% of students who took part in the study wanted their teachers to continue using the Rugby League-themed resources as a learning tool in their literacy studies and 60% of students said they read voluntarily more at home and at school as a result of using the resources.

Commissioned by Rugby League’s One Community, the research, led by Australian Catholic University Lecturer in Educating Boys, Literacy and Education Studies, Suzan Hirsch, and Associate Professor in Primary Education, Dr Janette Long, surveyed 660 students and 107 teachers from 11 schools across metropolitan and regional NSW.

Conducted across Terms Two to Four of 2010, the study has reinforced the strength of the ground-breaking Rugby League Reads program in inspiring young readers, increasing engagement and motivation towards reading lessons and increasing voluntary reading by students.

“The feedback from teachers, parents and students about Rugby League Reads and the enthusiasm around kids using the resources at school and at home has been fantastic,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.

“We knew from parents and schools that there was a lot of anecdotal evidence about how much of an impact the program was making and that in itself was really rewarding.

“To now have research that shows 85% of teachers reporting that Rugby League Reads is helping to engage boys who are reluctant to read is even more so.
“Sixty per cent of students who took part in the research are also now reading more at home and school due to the influence of the NRL Reading Captains.

“It’s a great example of the positive impact our game makes in the wider community and how we can use Rugby League to help kids enjoy one of the most important skills in life.”

Developed in a partnership between Rugby League’s One Community and education experts, Rugby League Reads combines children’s interest in Rugby League with in-class English Syllabus-based magazines aimed at Years Three to Six, complementary teaching resources and a set of home readers aimed at Years K to Two.

A key feature of the resources was the use of Reading Captains, players and mascots from across the 16 NRL clubs in the content with the Bulldogs’ David Stagg, the Knights’ Ben Rogers and former Sharks captain turned One Community ambassador Trent Barrett among those to share their own reading habits, interests and literacy journey as well as set challenges for students to motivate them to continue reading beyond the resources.

Literacy and Boys Education academic Suzan Hirsch, who authored the Rugby League Reads resources and also co-led the research, said: “Working in boys education and with Rugby League for the last seven years, I have seen first-hand the enormous impact NRL players can have on the engagement of students in reading, particularly boys who are traditionally less interested in reading.

“Showing that Rugby League players are readers is an important part of Rugby League Reads which, as the research indicates, can have a significant impact on a student’s own reading habits.

“In the research we looked at the influence that Rugby League players have on students’ own reading habits and it was amazing to hear about the number of students who were motivated to go out and read books as a result of the Reading Captain’s comments or recommendations.

“Another encouraging finding was that students reported an increased engagement in reading with their parents, namely their father, and I was also surprised by the finding that revealed female students also responded well to the magazines.

“Looking ahead, we are excited about the program’s potential, especially considering there has been a lot of support from teachers with 86% reporting that they would choose to continue using the magazines and resources.”
The inaugural Rugby League Reads magazines were taken up by more than 230 schools across Australia and New Zealand, reaching more than 70,000 children across Terms Two, Three and Four of 2010.

Another three magazines will be released this year in Terms Two to Four and will again use a range of Primary School English Syllabus-based text types for Year Three to Six students, with a set of eight home readers also available for younger students in Years K to Two.

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Asquith (NSW) teacher, Louise Lawrenson, whose Year Three class uses the resources, said: “Teachers love practical and helpful resources and Rugby League Reads is certainly both of these and more.
“The resources cover every single text type so even if a child is not a Rugby League fan, they can still find a text type they enjoy reading.

“The magazines are also so detailed and informative and it’s not only exciting and interesting for the children to read them, but also to complete the activities suggested.”

Both the Rugby League Reads magazines and home readers can be ordered through Rugby League’s One Community at www.rloc.com.au.
Research Methodology
11 NSW schools took part in the research: 2 Independent, 2 Catholic and 7 Public schools.
Across those schools, 660 Year 3-6 students and 107 Kindergarten-Year 6 teachers took part in the research.
Research schools were spread across metropolitan and regional NSW including the Sutherland Shire, North Shore, Northern Beaches, Central Coast, Western Sydney, Taree and Medowie.
The research involved pre, mid-point and post data being captured.
Key Research Findings
90% of students wanted their teacher to continue using Rugby League Reads magazines in the classroom as a learning tool in the Literacy block.
85% of teachers surveyed strongly agreed that Rugby League Reads had positively influenced reluctant male readers to engage in reading. Only 4% reported that they did not.
Teachers reported that 78% of male students and 25% of female students were motivated to read when using the resources.
60% of students said they read more at home and school as a result of the Reading Captains.
86% of teachers (both fans and non-fans of Rugby League) reported they would choose to continue using the magazines and resources. Only 3% reported that they would not.
89% of teachers (both fans and non-fans of Rugby League) believed that Rugby League players as role models could assist students to engage more fully with reading. 11% were unsure and none disagreed.
Some students revealed that having the opportunity to take the Rugby League Reads magazines home allowed them to engage their parents, particularly fathers, in reading.
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