A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of “Bookstart+”: A Book Gifting Programme

Liam O'Hare, Paul Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of a free book gifting programme, called “Bookstart+”, in improving family reading outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach
Bookstart+ consists of a pack of books and reading materials provided to families at their two-year-old child's statutory health visit. The pack is accompanied by a short priming demonstration, delivered by the health visitor, on shared reading. The evaluation took the form of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) with 460 families from the client lists of 115 health visitors.

Findings
The study found evidence of: a positive significant effect on parents’ attitudes to reading and books (Cohen's d=+0.192, p=0.034); no significant effect on parental attitudes to their child reading (d=+0.085, p=0.279); and a negative effect, approaching significance, on public library usage (d=-0.160, p=0.055).

Research limitations/implications
The attrition rate was high, with only 43.9 per cent of the target families completing all of the research. However, this level of attrition did not lead to any significant differences between the control and intervention groups on their pre-test measures.

Practical implications
The study provides recommendations for free book gifting service provision in relation to pack contents and delivery.

Originality/value
This paper contributes to the limited international RCT evidence on free book gifting programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-30
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Children's Services
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Free book gifting
  • Shared Reading
  • Bookstart

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