Improved reading across all year groups at Surrey independent school
Cranleigh Preparatory School, Cranleigh, Surrey
Our school has always been a very keen reading school, but we were interested in finding out how much the children were actually understanding, and decided to implement Accelerated Reader, initially with Year 5. We have 6 iPads in the library, up from 3 in our initial year, which are locked down, so students can only access Accelerated Reader on them. Every form tutor has one as well, and we’ve found that to be a sufficient number of iPads for children to quiz freely.
We’ve definitely seen an increase in the buzz around reading at school: children are falling over themselves on Monday to quiz on books they finished over the weekend, and we’ve seen standardised scores for reading increase significantly in all year groups. Children are very keen to read, and are very proud of their reading achievements – one particular student, Rafe, read 6.5 million words last year. We were running out of awards to give him! We always knew he was a good reader but never realised quite how much he was reading and how much he was understanding: he’s blown away all of our expectations and is definitely reading more because of Accelerated Reader. Every time I see him he tells me that he is about to finish a book or start a new one, and he’s reading fairly long books and consistently scoring 100% when quizzing on them: we’re starting to see this impact on his writing, and his confidence is now sky high.
We haven’t needed to offer too many incentives because the children are so happy to read, but we do celebrate word millionaires, and give children a ticket to put up on the wall every time they get 100% in a quiz. Children have found the Word Count, which tracks how many words have been read, really motivating, and last year we had just under 60 million words read and 21 millionaires from a year group of 52 pupils. We’ve since expanded Accelerated Reader across the whole school: we’re about halfway through the academic year, and so far we have 52 millionaires and over 173 million words read! It’s great that comprehension is so transparent: we’re now able to share that data with tutors, English Teachers, other staff members and parents, so the programme has really strengthened our communications in that respect.
We’re administering a Renaissance Star Reading test four times a year, which helps us ensure that children are reading at the right level for them and track their progress accordingly. Our lessons are 35 minutes long, which gives us enough time to administer the test: it’s very straightforward and the results are available immediately. We’re using it alongside other assessments, which we administer twice per year, and it’s useful to view the sets of results side by side.
Before Accelerated Reader, anecdotally a lot of children would read the same books because they were trendy, or other students had enjoyed them. But now, because we know what level children need to be reading at to make progress, they’re reading a wider range of books as well. As time has gone on, more and more members of staff have gotten on board with the programme, as have children, which makes our work easier because everyone at school wants the programme to succeed.
|Talking Points||Motivation, Reading for pleasure, Student engagement, Word Millionaires|