Guest Post: Celebrating reading progress with Roald Dahl party

By Carol Groom, Assistant Librarian

At Renaissance, we’ve always said that, ultimately, Accelerated Reader is all about reading for pleasure, but without being part of a whole school reading culture or celebrating reading success, this can be hard to achieve.

Working with over 5,000 schools across the UK & Ireland, we hear many stories about the different ways in which success is celebrated – and that is why we’ve added a new category to the annual Renaissance Awards: “Best Celebration of Reading”, which you can learn more about here.

Recently, however, we’ve been asking customers to share with us the things they #love about our products, and were delighted to receive this story from Mayfield School in Portsmouth about a Roald Dahl-themed party for their Word Millionaires.

Roald Dahl prize winners with English Teacher, Wanda Barnes

Roald Dahl prize winners with English Teacher Wanda Barnes

We hosted our Accelerated Reader Millionaire’s Party on the 4th July 2017 with a Roald Dahl theme to recognise all of those pupils in Years 7 and 8 who have read more than one million words over the last academic year.  We had a total of 41 pupils who achieved this status. But first, let me give you a little background on the start of AR in our school:

The “Before and After” picture with Accelerated Reader

The Accelerated Reader programme was set up prior to me starting at the school so it is difficult for me to give a “before picture”. But since I have taken over I have ensured that the programme is used to its best to suit the pupils, using pupil statistics to highlight those who need additional support. Over the past 4 years we are going from strength to strength and have designated AR lessons incorporated into the timetable for Years 7 and 8. We have created over 200 quizzes that are not only used in our schools but have shared them with other schools in the Portsmouth and Isle of Wight areas. As we have so many Millionaires we have other schools asking for our advice on the programme which we willingly give.”

The Roald Dahl celebrations

On the 4th of July, at exactly 10.45am, the celebrations ceremony started. The library was buzzing! Students came rushing down to see the surprise treats that awaited them for all their hard work and reading accomplishments made throughout the year. We didn’t disappoint. A Huge Golden Ticket cake had been prepared for them, with gift books from the Roald Dahl series. They were so excited…and so was I to be honest! It’s such a thrilling sensation to see them overjoyed!

Head Teacher of Mayfield School cutting the Roald Dahl celebratory cake

Head Teacher of Mayfield cutting the Roald Dahl celebration cake

Our Head Teacher, Mr David Jeapes was also present to reward the AR Millionaires with their hard work, reminding them of his favourite quote: “Your only limitation is your ambition

Head Teacher and pupils celebrate successful reading progress at Mayfield School

Whoopsey-Splunkers of course!

Using only one word to describe how AR has been to our school is extremely difficult, as the impact it has had on reading is literally beyond words! But if I must choose one, I’ll go for Whoopsey-Splunkers! This is from Roald Dahl’s own language, and is used to describe something “absolutely marvellous”. That’s exactly how I feel about Accelerated Reader.

Want to share your reading success celebrations with us as well?

Simply complete this form with details of your school’s story, and it will be automatically nominated for the ‘Best Reading Celebration’ category of the 2017 Renaissance Awards! We can’t wait to hear from you.

2017 Renaissance Awards


Carol Groom
Assistant Librarian

Carol Groom is an Assistant Librarian at the Mayfield School in Portsmouth. You can get in touch with her by visiting the school's website at http://mayfield.portsmouth.sch.uk/



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