To have or have not…?

By Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager

When somebody asks you, what was the last thing you read, most of us will rack our brains for the name of the last book we read, or maybe even feel slightly disarmed that there hasn’t been a book in a while. Maybe we have been conditioned to thinking that reading is about “reading a story”, and possibly the conduit we are nurtured through when we first start school and picture books are read to us, and we are encouraged to “take one home”. Of course, that is not to say that non-fiction texts are not encouraged or included in the curriculum, because they are! Topics in Primary Schools will focus on a range of subjects and topic-based learning. There is a whole list of different types of Non-fiction text from discussion texts, explanatory texts, instructional texts, persuasion texts, non-chronological reports, recounts, there will be no shortage of genres for children to explore! As we all know the reading children experience will influence and support their writing and so ensuring that there is a range available in schools is important. However, books are costly, textbooks get updated and arguably fiction/story books may take precedence over the non-fiction counterparts.

2,000 Non-Fiction Articles in Accelerated Reader

Non-Fiction Articles have become a popular additional resource to the Renaissance Solution in schools. There are 2,000 engaging non-fiction articles (labelled Accelerated Reader 360)* covering dozens of topics from history, science, technology and culture available from schools’ Renaissance Home Page.

Due to their alignment with the US Accelerated Reader 360 programme please note that quizzes on articles do not currently earn the student points and are written in US English. Although this may be frustrating, it is also true to say that these articles are a valuable resource which many schools are using to supplement their Non-Fiction Resources.

*originally designed for a product only available in the US

FAQs about Non-fiction Articles

How do students access the articles? 

  • Students have an Accelerated Reader Articles tile on their Home page. This tile directs them to a search and discovery area where they will find articles for their level, one level above and one level below.

How can teachers see the articles that are available to students? 

  • Currently the only way for teachers to preview the articles is by logging in as a student.

Why would students read them if they don’t earn points? 

  • Schools can start out by just encouraging students to read the articles and learn about new topics. If they like the topic, they could head to the library to discover a book that tells them more about the topic. Teachers or librarians may want to incentivise students to try 3 non-fiction articles a month.

How else can these articles be used?

  • Teachers may also consider using the Articles as Whole Class Guided Reading material to support note taking and topic work.

We are often told by schools:

  • It is a shame that they don’t count towards their target(s)
  • It is a shame that the word count is not measured
  • It is a shame that teaching staff are not able to see the Articles

We recognise that this is not ideal, but decided it was “better to have 2000 Articles than not at all” We hope you agree!

Click here to download instructions on how to Track Non-Fiction Article Results.

Reference : The National Literacy Trust

Margaret Allen
Strategic Education Manager

Margaret Allen is Strategic Education Manager for Primary schools at Renaissance Learning. She uses practical experience from her time teaching in primary classrooms to help teachers across the UK to get the most out of Accelerated Reader.

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