Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

“Leaders are committed to reading catch-up.” – Ofsted

Belmont Junior School, London, England

Belmont Junior School has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2020 to support their reading development strategy.

In April 2022, Oftsed published a ‘Good’ inspection report for the school. The inspector made several observations regarding the school’s fantastic reading development strategy within the report.

We spoke to English Lead, Assistant Head and Class Teacher Alex to find out the role that Accelerated Reader and Star Reading have played in the school’s strengthening reading development strategy over the last two years.

“A love of reading is promoted through the careful selection of stories across the curriculum. Pupils talk confidently about favourite books. Leaders are committed to reading catch-up.”

– Ofsted

Alex explains:

The perfect solution

“Accelerated Reader has been perfect for us.”

Several reasons contributed to our decision to implement Accelerated Reader (AR) throughout the school. However, the main one was that although our pupils were reading independently, there was no real way of monitoring what they were reading.

Before AR, pupils were reading books randomly based on what looked interesting, so we had lots of children who didn’t have any natural reading habits. In some cases, the texts that pupils were reading were much too complex for them to enjoy and access.

Therefore, there was a routine of taking take books from my library and bringing them back the following week without reading and absorbing the book’s content. Before AR, we could not analyse whether pupils understood the texts they accessed.

So, for this reason, AR has been perfect for us, and I’ve worked at a school that used AR previously, so I was familiar with it and was aware of the impact it could have on the school and how it would work operationally.

Data to identify and inform intervention

“This data from Star Assessments gives us a clear idea of pupils’ progress throughout the year.”

The reports from the Star Reading assessments we carry out four times in an academic year provide a good insight into which pupils need more support.

We refer to the benchmark graph within the Diagnostic Report, which gives us a starting point to construct and develop each pupil’s reading journey. This report provides valuable data and is presented clearly in the form of a colour-coded graph, so it’s easy to interpret, which is helpful.

Star Reading Diagnostic Report – Renaissance

Because we’re a junior school, our cohort of years threes joins us each year with a unique range of reading proficiency already established. The Screening Report, which we can run off after the initial baseline Star Assessment is conducted, gives us an overview of which pupils are above and below the school benchmark for reading.

Therefore, with a combination of the Screening and Diagnostic Reports, it’s beneficial to identify pupils below benchmark early and carefully monitor their progress throughout the year. This data from Star Assessments gives us a clear idea of pupils’ progress throughout the year.

We use the Reading Age metric identified in each report after a pupil has carried out their latest Star Reading assessment as a measure of progress to share with stakeholders such as parents. The unique Reading Age for each pupil provides an indicator which makes it easy to communicate how much support a pupil requires.

Developing a love for reading with books and articles

“AR is now a part of the routine at school, and I think we need to make the most of the data.”

We also frequently use the non-friction AR articles, which are helpful when assessing pupils’ reading comprehension domains, such as vocabulary and SPaG. These texts also prepare pupils for more formal texts to which they’ll be exposed in their future educational careers. Additionally,y because the articles are nice and short, they help develop pupils’ research and scanning skills.

From now on, we’ll keep investing in the variety of books we’re stocking which are almost all exclusively AR-quizzed books. AR is now a part of the routine at school, and I think we need to make the most of the data. We’re going to focus more on target setting next year. We need to analyse whether pupils can reach and exceed their targets allocated by AR and Star Reading throughout the year.

We’ll continue to motivate pupils to read for pleasure by motivating them with incentives such as sharing word count display boards around the school and celebrating pupils who are Accelerated Reader word millionaires, which the pupils love!

“Gaps in knowledge are quickly identified and a bespoke offer is provided to fill these gaps. Pupils make progress with developing fluency.”

– Ofsted

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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