Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

“Accelerated Reader has proved to be invaluable.”

Ashford School, Ashford, Kent

Who uses Accelerated Reader

We have been using Accelerated Reader (AR) for nine years now and I have to say, I would highly recommend it! I work in the library of the prep school and we use Accelerated Reader with all children in Years 3-6. Children in Year 2 are usually transitioned into the AR programme when they are achieving a reading age of seven years and over. We also have some children in Year 1 who are very good/gifted readers, whom we move onto the programme to extend.

The impact of Star Reading data

All these children on the AR programme do a Star Reading test once per term which informs their ZPD. We also use Star Reading to track and monitor progress in reading, and to highlight children that need interventions, or those that need to go on watch. The data is particularly useful over time to identify children that may need interventions. As well as the librarian, I am also a SEN (Special Educational Needs) teacher, and so I work closely with the SENCo and teaching staff to find books that are age-appropriate and within the children’s ZPD ranges to help them make the best progress in reading.

The Star Reading data also helps us to group children appropriately by ability and to identify where best to maximise TA input in lessons. Thanks to Star Reading and AR data, we have changed some of the books that were used as English set books to make the levels more appropriate to specific groups of children.

A bit of healthy competition!

One of the most significant changes we’ve seen is the uptake of reading in boys. The incentives we use alongside the programme to promote reading appeal to the competitive side which a lot of boys seem to have! We use certificates as an incentive to encourage quiz-taking, with certificates awarded for reading 10, 20, 50 and 100 books. We also reward those real bookworms by awarding certificates for 100,000 and 500,000 words, and those who reach the million-word mark receive certificates and badges for their blazers. This year we were able to induct 42 children in Years 3-6 into the Millionaires club – that’s 20% of the students!

In the early years, our overall word count hovered around 30 million words. A few years ago, we did a real push on AR and reading and managed to get just over 100 million words. This year we have reached an incredible 121,437,729 words!

An increase in non-fiction

We have invested in a wide range of AR quizzed, non-fiction books, and since then we’ve also seen an increase in reading non-fiction texts for all children, which is really exciting. We absolutely do encourage reading for fun, which means that children are allowed to read books that aren’t on the scheme or aren’t in their ZPD level, but in these instances they do not take quizzes on the books.

Making administration a pleasure!

The support we receive when we call the Customer Services team at Renaissance is always excellent and makes administering the AR programme a pleasure. And having used the programme for years, I was pleasantly surprised at how useful and informative training days are.

As a tool to build and monitor comprehension skills in our children, AR has proved to be invaluable. It is fantastic to have a programme that encourages children to read whole books and then answer questions to assess their understanding. The overall impact has been excellent.

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