by Laura Venning, Evaluation and Impact Research Manager
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At The Reading Agency we believe that evaluating the impact of our work is vitally important: we need to be clear about how reading for pleasure and empowerment impacts on people's lives and how our programmes contribute to this. We need this information because we are ambitious for our programmes. We want to get more people involved in reading and we want to be sure that they have high quality experiences which make a difference to them.
We have been leading an innovative, collaborative project to help improve impact evaluation across the sector, by developing a reading outcomes framework toolkit. We are very grateful to the Peter Sowerby Foundation for funding this work.
The Reading Outcomes Framework Toolkit includes:
• a framework of the outcomes of reading for pleasure and empowerment
• sample survey questions to evaluate whether a programme impacts on these outcomes
• a bank of evidence about how reading relates to these outcomes
About the toolkit
The toolkit is freely available and can be used by anyone working to encourage reading for pleasure and empowerment, for example charities, libraries, schools, colleges, early years settings, prisons, family learning professionals and the health sector.
It will help you understand, demonstrate and improve the impact of your activity to encourage reading. It will support you to make the case for investment and advocate for your work by outlining existing evidence about the outcomes of reading and providing guidance about collecting evidence about the impact your work makes.
We worked with evaluation experts OPM to create the reading outcomes framework toolkit, building on extensive research and consultation with the sector. We commissioned a literature review, ran seven workshops across the UK, conducted an online consultation survey and have spoken at a range of conferences over the last two years.
The project is run by a steering group of representatives from Arts Council England, Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians, BookTrust, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, National Literacy Trust, Publishers Association, Scottish Library and Information Council and the Society of Chief Librarians.
There has been enormous interest in this work from a wide range of organisations in the UK and Europe, across the library, education, health and charity sectors. It is a valuable development, supporting organisations to collect comparable evidence for the first time.
The Reading Outcomes Framework Toolkit available now is the result of the first phase of work. Over the next year we will be supporting people to use the toolkit while we continue to develop and improve it, releasing an enhanced version in the future. If you use the toolkit please do let us know and send us any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reading Outcomes Framework Toolkit is an interactive pdf available here. It is best accessed using Adobe Acrobat Reader on a PC.
A print-friendly version of the toolkit is available here.
The Reading Outcomes Framework is available here.
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