The SPOKES (Supporting Parents on Kids Education in Schools) programme is a ten-week intervention for parents designed to help struggling readers in Year 1. The programme teaches parents strategies to support their children’s reading such as listening to children read, pausing to let them work out words, and praising them when they concentrate and problem-solve.
The programme was based primarily in Plymouth and was conducted with six cohorts of children and parents, one cohort each term from Spring term 2012 to Autumn term 2014. This evaluation was designed to assess the impact of the programme on children’s reading outcomes. It was a randomised controlled trial involving the parents of 808 children from 68 primary schools. Parents of Year 1 children identified as ‘struggling readers’ were recruited through their child’s school to participate in the project. Parents of the intervention children participated in ten weekly SPOKES sessions over one term and parents of children in a comparison group received books and newsletters. The impact evaluation measured the impact of SPOKES — on children’s literacy (letter identification, word identification, and phonetic awareness) and on a range of social and emotional outcomes — at the end of the programme and at six- and twelve-month follow up points. The process evaluation was designed to collect parents’ views and experiences of SPOKES, to help to explain the findings from of the impact evaluation, and to provide feedback to inform the future design and delivery of the programme.
The programme was developed as part of a Department of Health grant agreement by Professors Stephen Scott and Kathy Sylva. This project was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.