Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Reading at just the right level, as noted by Ofsted at Birchanger COE Voluntary Controlled Primary School

Birchanger COE Voluntary Controlled Primary School, Birchwood, England

Birchanger COE Voluntary Controlled Primary School has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2019 to support the school’s reading development strategy. 

In May 2022, the school received an unchanged ‘Good’ Ofsted inspection report where the inspector made specific observations about the school’s successful reading development strategy: 

“Pupils become capable readers who love books. Children in Reception and pupils in Year 1 quickly learn what they need to read confidently and accurately. Staff give pupils who find reading hard the support they need to read well. Pupils regularly recommend books to their friends and talk outside of lessons about their reading.Staff closely check what pupils are reading to ensure that pupils are reading books that are not too hard or too easy.

-Ofsted

Following this fantastic feedback, we got in touch with Year-6 teacher Sharon who discussed the impact that Accelerated Reader and Star reading had made on the school’s reading development strategy over the last three years.

Sharon explains

An assessment routine to keep on track

“I would say that Accelerated Reader and Star reading have helped challenge pupils’ reading ability throughout KS2.”

We conduct our Star Reading assessments every term. At the beginning of the new school year, after pupils have completed their initial baseline assessment, they discover their unique ZPD range, highlighting the books they can access that are pitched to their level of reading ability.

The Star Reading assessment each term allows us to see each pupil’s unique level of reading understanding. The data from the Star Reading report tells us whether pupils are reading books with the right level of ability for them and how many books or words they’re currently reading on average.

Then, we use the data from Star Reading as a formative assessment to help pupils prepare for summative assessment conditions. I would say that Accelerated Reader and Star reading have helped challenge pupils’ reading ability throughout KS2.

The Progress data from AR and Star Reading often complement our teacher assessment information. So, for example, we frequently refer to the Star Reading Growth Report and Diagnostic Report, which always match our assessment data and indicate which pupils need more support and those who are thriving with reading practice. 

Reading enthusiasm means reading engagement

“I’ve also seen more children around the school sharing books and recommending authors … was something the Ofsted inspector noticed.”

Thanks to AR making books more accessible throughout the school by highlighting each text’s respective ZPD range and AR points score; we’ve since invested in better quality texts. We wanted our school’s reading culture to provide various texts that pupils can explore and discover now that they’re open to reading a more comprehensive range of books. 

Now, we focus on sharing the success of reading progress by hosting reading assemblies to celebrate success. I’ve also seen more children around the school sharing books and recommending authors, genres and titles, which has been really encouraging and was something the Ofsted inspector noticed. 

We host regular activities and incentives to keep reading proficiency levels up to encourage reading for all pupils. For instance, we have a tea party at the end of every term to celebrate each class’ reading progress. Pupils will subsequently be given a wristband of bronze, silver and gold. 

If you have a bronze wristband, you must keep reading at least five times a week, silver six and gold seven. If they keep up their reading practice, pupils could find themselves with a new wristband colour by the time the next tea party comes around.

 

Accurate data that supports successful intervention

Renaissance Accelerated Reader

“Accelerated Reader and Star Reading help us provide appropriate and targeted intervention for the pupils who need it the most.”

Accelerated Reader and Star Reading help us provide appropriate and targeted intervention for the pupils who need it the most. The fact that the Growth and Diagnostic reports reveal each pupil’s reading age and current tracked progress allows us to highlight the bottom 20% of pupils in the school.

Once we’ve identified pupils below benchmark or needing urgent intervention, we can act quickly and support them effectively to ensure they need to read at a standard that will help them transition into the following year’s group or key stage.

Accelerated Reader and Star Reading will help us continue to monitor and track all our pupils’ reading development. And, as the Ofsted inspector noted,m we will continue to ensure all pupils are reading at the right level and receive the proper support to keep reading exciting and sufficiently challenging.

We look forward to exploring the reports and data in more detail in the following academic year, specifically to utilise the information that can help us predict how many pupils are on track to meeting the expected standard in their reading SATS paper.

Click here to find out how your school can utilise Accelerated Reader and Star reading to support your reading development strategy.


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