Reading success and celebration with the Complete Literacy Solution in Northern Ireland
Aughnacloy Regional Primary School, Aughnacloy, Co.Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Aughnacloy Regional Primary School has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2011 to support the school’s literacy development strategy. In 2020, the school invested in myON, the digital library from Renaissance, to ensure all pupils could access reading and maintain reading engagement throughout the multiple lockdowns.
Now, learning is back in the classroom, and the school continue to utilise the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance. We speak to the P4 teacher, Karen, who explains how Accelerated Reader, Star Reading and myOn have been integral to the continued progress of all pupils’ reading proficiency.
Now that we’ve implemented Accelerated Reader (AR), we’ve labelled all of our reading recovery books with the respective ZPD band, helping pupils identify suitable books for their ability level. We want to ensure that all pupils are being stretched and no one is held back.
The Role of the Literacy Coordinator
“With Accelerated Reader, and Star Reading reports, I can see a clear overview of every pupil’s engagement and development in each class.”
With Star Reading reports, I can see a clear overview of every pupil’s engagement and development in each class.
At Aughnacloy Regional Primary School, we try and allow all pupils to read at their own pace and own level with a wide range of books. Therefore, eleven years ago, our principal heard about AR and its substantial success toward their respective literacy development strategies in other local schools.
Back then, I was the literacy coordinator, and therefore, it was my job to ensure the book stocks were kept up to date and there was a wide variety of books to choose from.
When we brought in Star Reading, the termly assessments allowed us to signpost pupils towards appropriate books for their level of ability and interest.
“What i like most about AR is that most of the books I enjoy reading are on there. I also like that there is a target for us to read towards and that we have a couple of months to meet that target.”
-Beth, P7 Pupil
We were very fortunate to receive training from another school in Lisburn, County Antrim, where staff were already set up and familiar with AR. Through their guidance and support, we were able to see how Star Reading properly compliments Accelerated Reader by keeping pupils motivated and on track with their individual reading development.
Before that helpful training, I used to go through each class and see who was manually reading and who wasn’t. But now I know with Accelerated Reader, and Star Reading reports, I can see a clear overview of every pupil’s engagement and development in each class.
It’s my job to ensure all pupils, even reluctant readers or less enthusiastic about Reading than their peers, remain engaged and motivated with Reading.
Therefore, as a school, we brainstorm and implement lots of creative ways to boost engagement and reading enjoyment for pupils through fun competitions and celebrating reading progress.
“With myON, we’re can easily assign books of interest and ability to students. Coupled with Accelerated Reader, our pupils have never had more access to different texts.”
Each half-term, when pupils carry out their Star Reading assessment, the following data we receive from Star Reading assessments informs us which books pupils can tkae home and continue to read in their own time.
Our AR strategy has adjusted post-lockdown. Before the lockdowns, we only allowed pupils o conduct quizzes in school but to boost reading engagement while learning from home, we opened up AR quizzing to be conducted anywhere.
During the lockdown, we swiftly implemented myON, the digital library, to provide all of our pupils with over 5,00 more digital texts that they can access on any device, from anywhere. myON was an absolute godsend in ensuring children maintained reading at home.
Now we’re back to total capacity; most children still do their AR quizzes in school, but through the data and insight metrics I can see via myON, I can see there are still plenty of pupils reading at home on their devices, with myON.
“I like myON because there are lots of categories to choose from, fiction and non-fiction, real life and fantasy – there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
Through Accelerated reader’s online quizzes and Star Reading’s online assessments, it’s nice for me to see how pupils’ ICT skills have developed by logging into their Renaissance Place and navigating their way through to conduct the next quiz or assessment.
With myON, we can easily assign books of interest and ability to students. Coupled with Accelerated Reader, our pupils have never had more access to different texts.
Pupils are more motivated than ever to continue their reading development because access to Reading and the motivation to quiz their knowledge of each text is abundant.
Therefore, even now we’re back to total capacity, continuing our use of myON has been a no brainer. myON projects allow our staff to set work both in the classroom and at home for all pupils based on a particular theme or learning topic.
With the 5,000 digital books accessible in myON, it’s easy for teachers to find non-fiction texts on the current learning topic and assign those texts to be read by pupils and to inform their learning. That’s why myON is the perfect resource for hybrid learning.
“It’s been brilliant to see more children reading non-fiction texts, especially boys who love reading non-fiction texts on their favourite topics!”
In the main corridor of our school, I’ve set up an Accelerated Reader reading board. All children from p2 – p7 regularly participating in AR reading and quizzing each week have their own Star on the reading board.
I can set achievable targets with AR’s data and insight on each pupil’s progress and unique reading age. Hopefully, by the end of each half term, all pupils have met their respective targets, and we then hold a class celebration (if social distancing rules allow).
Additionally, we also ho,d a whole school celebration which includes a pizza or ice cream party to celebrate pupils’ latest hard work in reading success.
We use many incentives to keep pupils motivated to read different books and score well on their respective quizzes, such as extra playtime or, some pupils even prefer extra reading time!
“The vocabulary quizzes on AR linked to books I have read, expands my knowledge of powerful vocabulary.”
-Daniel, P7 Pupil
I always have a box of treats in my class like extra pens or sweets, and when children score well on their latest AAR book quiz, I give them a treat.
At Aughnacloy Regional Primary School, there is always lots of Reading and celebration. So, for example, this World Book Day, we’ll be dressing up as our favourite characters from books and celebrating the wonderful world of reading for the day, as a school!
Still, it’s not all about exciting fictional books. With myON, we’re seeing more children reading more non-fiction books than ever before, thanks to a wide variety of age-appropriate and informative topical books in myON.
It’s been brilliant to see more children reading non-fiction texts, especially boys who love reading non-fiction texts on their favourite topics, such as dinosaurs or trucks!
With my projects, teachers can enable and facilitate pupils’ unique interests by assigning more books relevant to their interests in myON and finding texts pertinent to the current learning topic to read together for whole-class Reading.
Star Reading Data
“The accurate data from Star Reading helps underpin conversations with pupils about their reading development and the next steps they need to take to continue their reading journey.”
As literacy coordinator, it’s my job to scrutinise the data from Star reading after pupils carry out their half-termly assessments. I then forward the following information to staff regarding which pupils need more support and teachers should keep an eye on, and which pupils are currently achieving above benchmark.
I specifically look at the growth report from Star Reading which provides me with a quick guide to see who has progressed and who hasn’t, which is extremely useful for our whole school literacy strategy.
This valuable data from Star Reading also helps inform staff about children who have an individual education plan to see whether these pupils are improving their reading development or needing specific support.
Almost always, when we look at the Star Reading data, it’s pretty much bang on as to what we want to see from pupils’ individual progress.
The accurate data from Star Reading helps underpin conversations with pupils about their reading development and the next steps they need to take to continue their reading journey.
The data from Star Reading assessments also offers additional clarity and insight when our teacher suspects a pupil may be struggling with their current reading pattern.
The Star Reading assessment will confirm which areas of learning the pupil are below benchmark and what skills they can work on to prevent further deceleration in learning.
myON in the Classroom
“Whether myON is on the big interactive whiteboard in class with all pupils analysing and reading the set class text together or discovering their own texts on individual iPads, myON is invaluable as a classroom resource.”
myON is an excellent resource for home but even at school. The solution is perfect for modelling work with a pupil or class. With the abundance of fiction and non-fiction texts available in myON, there are lots you can use myON with to support lesson planning and execution in the classroom.
The point of myON is that it gives us different texts that are more suited to support learning topics. I like the length of books in myON.
The interactive chapters allow pupils to pick up where they left off as soon as they log into their myON profile and jump straight to a specific chapter to support whole-class Reading.
When I received my Renaissance training on myON, I was excited to create lots of tasks with myON Projects. So I created and assigned many tasks on the learning topic, ‘The World Around Us’.
With myON, I can find loads of informative texts on different cultures and countries to assign to the learning project and then delegate to all pupils to read and explore.
“There is a vast selection of non-fiction books, which is super. myON provides personalised reading materials based on learners’ interests and reading level, overall an excellent resource.”
Teacher, Key-Stage 1
There is lots of value in sitting down together for whole-class Reading using myON—the trainee teacher in my class usedmyON to read and guide pupils through the book: Flat Stanley.
Throughout the book, I could see pupils hanging on every word. Using myON to read a text as classes and analysing it together demonstrates learning practice and modelling in front of their eyes, which is great to see.
Whether myON is on the big interactive whiteboard in class with all pupils analysing and reading the set class text together or discovering their own texts on individual iPads, myON is invaluable as a classroom resource.
There is also a good use for myON to support individual pupils who need extra intervention. For example, I can ask the classroom assistant to sit with pupils and go through texts together to spend extra time on reading development.
With the interactivity features of myON, such as clicking on any word and seeing a dictionary definition of it and thesaurus results or reading aloud feature, myON makes it easy for pupils to ask questions and demonstrate their understanding of the text.
An Investment, Approved
“I definitely feel we’ve got our money worth with Accelerated Reader, Star Reading and myON. The Complete literacy Solution has been one of the best things we invested in.”
I definitely feel we’ve got our money worth with Accelerated Reader, Star Reading and myON. The Complete literacy Solution has been one of the best things we invested in.
There is a school twenty miles down the road from us were on the fence about investing in AR, and without hesitation, we said to them, do it – you won’t regret it!
“Accelerated Reader is a powerful tool for monitoring progress and it challenges and encourages pupils to read.”
I feel you’re not holding any pupils back – I have children in p5 who are word millionaires already, and they come into the staff room to have special hot chocolate for both boys and girls.
Pupils are now self-motivated to develop their Reading. I updated pupils’ targets for the next half-term before easter on Sunday. By Tuesday, many pupils had already completed their Star Reading assessments and met their targets!
The Complete Literacy Solution creates intrinsic motivation for pupils to read more and see the results of their hard work.