Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

How we changed attitudes towards reading with the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance

Boothferry Primary School, East Riding of Yorkshire

In 2017, Accelerated Reader and Star Reading was brought in to support the school’s literacy strategy and promote more positive attitudes towards reading. In February 2019, the school received a ‘Good’ Ofsted inspection report, with specific recognition of the school’s teaching of reading:

“The teaching of reading is a strength of the school. Teachers provide high-quality support for pupils to develop their reading comprehension. Pupils confidently talk about their whole-school reading challenge, which motivates them to gain rewards for reading regularly.”

We spoke to the school’s Reading Coordinator, Jenna Bulmer about how the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance has been supporting the school.

Jenna writes:

Because of the nature of Accelerated Reader quizzes, our school decided to help raise the profile of reading. We wanted to introduce a competitive element to reading success to boost reading engagement for kids in general. 

Before Accelerated Reader, there was no reason for children to pick up a book. And after children had read a book they didn’t really have any enthusiasm to move onto another book. Most importantly, we absolutely wanted better reading data for our children.        

Now with Star Reading, we have useful reading data. We used to carry out our Star Reading assessments once a term but since I’ve become Reading Coordinator, I’ve increased that to one assessment every half-term. Star Reading Assessments are useful to show progress for each individual child, class and year group, and the children love it. We share the Diagnostic Report with the children after they finish their assessment. This report allows children to see their reading age and how much progress they’re making. We’ve noticed that nine out of ten children have seen reading growth since carrying out their first Star Assessment. 

 In one instance, the post-assessment reports told us that a child’s reading age was way above their chronological age. In fact, it was ahead by over two years. At first, we were sceptical about this advanced reading age as it seemed too extreme. Still, once we began to see over time what types of books they were reading and how much their reading comprehension had developed, it wasn’t unbelievable for long. With both Accelerated Reader quizzes and Star Reading assessments, children can see their own progress. With this progress in front of their eyes, children can see that their reading practice is not a waste of time.

“With Star Reading, I’m confident the data is accurate” 

With Star Reading, I’m confident the data is accurate. Last year I was coordinator of Accelerated Reader only, so I only saw the data from quizzes. Now I’m excited to see the Star Reading data for all pupils across Key-Stage 2. We’ve since carried out some staff training to all teaching staff on how to interpret reports from both Accelerated Reader and Star Reading. We place heavy focus on the Diagnostic Report, which illustrates the engaged reading time and AR quiz percentage for every pupil. These are the areas we want to achieve in so that we can apply for mastery as a school. This will require to read for up to twenty-five a day and to achieve an average 85% pass rate in quizzes. Thankfully the reports within AR and SR helpfully identify children in need of intervention. From this information, we can support each child with subsequent strategies such as encouraging reading from home and getting their parents on board. I haven’t heard from one teacher yet who has said that they that don’t understand the various reports. I’d say I probably log into the school’s Renaissance place to look at data at least fifteen times a day. I think I need to get out more! And now with myON too, I’m looking at even more reading data!

My job as Reading Coordinator is to raise the profile of reading. Therefore, in addition to using AR, I want children to have the opportunity to read in school if they’re not at home. I wanted them to have a reason to read and foster a love of reading across the whole school. I wanted to provide competitions and fun activities like that because we want to push reading throughout the school.

 Here is the how the reading strategy throughout Boothferry Primary School has changed and is now supported by Accelerated Reader and Star Reading:

Children need twenty ‘home-reads’ every half-term. Every child that reaches the 20 read expectation is rewarded with an end of half term reading treat. Treats can include activities such as going to the park, baking, or creative craft activities to congratulate the children. If children are not reading at home, then we offer reading at break time, so that every child has the opportunity to reach our school expected goal. The break time read counts as their home-read simply because they haven’t got the support in place to read at home. If pupils have not carried out 20 reads per half-term, they don’t get to take part in the reading treat. But more children are getting involved every half-term, and now more full classes are getting treats. 

“The school has really embraced the new culture of reading competitions, incentives and awards and pupils love getting involved. Overall this enthusiasm has supported the school’s new reading culture.”

For any children who read more than twenty times, they get their own golden ticket put into a hat. At the end of each term, our celebration assembly involves drawing a random name, and the winner receives a tablet! Additionally, we’ve also introduced trophies and certificates, including a trophy for the class who achieve the highest reading engagement time. We’ve also presented a trophy for the highest average quiz percentage. This award allows us to celebrate different children’s’ success each half term! Thanks to Accelerated Reader and Star Reading, we have this data to celebrate pupil achievement.  

We’ve also started our own podcast at Boothferry. Within it, we’re able to give shoutouts in assemblies to pupils who are progressing well with reading. Because our schools is situated in a deprived area, we get to use tablets quite frequently. Teachers can book their own iPads per class and then log onto myON or carry out AR quizzes. We’re lucky we have these excellent resources.

The school is also very active on social media, particularly on Twitter, to get parents involved. We run a lot of reading competitions, this includes pupils being able to win David Walliams books or tablets for children trying to improve reading. Teachers can nominate a girl and boy in their class who is working particularly hard, and more often than not, children will win tablets and new books. We’ll also give kids a ‘100% sticker’ if they get 100% in an AR quiz. Parents can see that sticker in their child’s book, and the kids are really proud of that. The school has really embraced the new culture of reading competitions, incentives and awards and pupils love getting involved. Overall this enthusiasm has supported the schools new reading culture.

 “Personally, I can’t believe how many books pupils have managed to read in a week”

We’re now in the process of revamping our library. As the school’s Reading Coordinator, I’ve set up a new reading area outside on the field with new reading teepees. We’re currently waiting for a grant for a new orchard, picnic tables, reading throne and tree trunk seats for the outdoor areas for the whole school to enjoy reading outdoors. As I coordinate outdoor learning at Boothferry, I wanted to create opportunities for children to learn and read outside. Additionally, we’re also going to introduce a reading shed with resources from EYFS all the way up to year 6, for children to access at break times. Now, there is no excuse not to read because there are reading resources wherever you look, including a giant hungry caterpillar hanging from the ceiling in the library.  

Now, we have the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance, including Accelerated Reader, Star Reading and MyOn to support reading development in a blended-learning environment. The most significant impact that Renaissance solutions have had on our school has been the attitude towards reading. There is a purpose to it now, children want to read. Some children just don’t like reading, but I can say hand on heart, I believe that their attitude really has changed. 

We recently launched myON, the digital library by Renaissance, and it has already had such a massive impact in such a short time. We recorded a launch video, and all classes across the school watched it. The children got really excited about myON, which I believe contributed to their new lease of life for reading. We have over 300 pupils with a myON login now, in the first week of our myON launch the children read over 1,000 books! We have reiterated that myON is not here to replace physical paper books, it is here in addition to them. That said, all pupils have fun with myON because they love technology these days and therefore a digital library on any device is more appealing to some pupils. Personally, I can’t believe how many books pupils have managed to read in a week. I’m sure everything pupils have achieved in Accelerated Reader, Star Reading and myON would have impacted on our progress data over the last academic year. But, because of school and reading improvements, there’s no way we haven’t seen a progression in comprehension and assessment. Thankfully Star Reading provides us with this data. 

 “The Headteacher was very impressed with myON, as are many of the teachers who have emailed me with such positive comments about the platform”

We’re now waiting for all pupils to hopefully complete their two Star Assessments before Christmas. AR and Star Reading have definitely changed pupils’ attitude towards reading. And now, with myON – wow, what an excellent product that will allow us to take reading engagement to the next level. The Headteacher was very impressed with myON, as are many of the teachers who have emailed me with such positive comments about the platform. Children want to read on myON, and they especially love listening to the audiobook feature. Teachers are now going to start to use myON for shared and group reading. We absolutely would recommend the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance.

How the school used the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance during the school closures of the 19/20 academic due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Once we were told that schools will be closed in March 2020, we told children they can quiz on any books they chose to read at home. A lot of children did quiz but not as many as we would have liked, simply because many of them didn’t have the appropriate books available at home. During the first lockdown, no one knew how long schools would be closed, so we didn’t send children home with books. Therefore, many of them had nothing to read. Because we are in a deprived area, there will always be children without books. With myON, it has gone through the roof, and we’ve read over 1,000 books in less than a week. Children log into myON every day, which allows us to see how much each class is engaging with reading. myON is now being used from year 2 to year 6, and now the most vulnerable pupils have the opportunity to read in school and home. Not a single child in the school during the second lockdown hasn’t logged in or engaged with reading. Year 5 have read 350 books in a week and year 3 read 290 in a week! All teaching staff were trained on the use of MyOn a couple of days before the launch, so it was successful in all classes. 

The school has social media, so when children are isolating, we hold a virtual podcast assembly. The Friday podcast assembly allows teachers to share the best work of their pupils. And on the Friday virtual podcast assembly, I always talk about Accelerated Reader and myON. I always talk about average reading time and engagement time for all pupils. Parents can listen to it at home too because children are at home with their parents, so often the parents will get involved also!

But don’t take our word for it!

Find out what the children at Boothferry Primary School think about Accelerated Reader and myON, click below:


The numbers don’t lie!

Over the last twelve months, Boothferry Primary School achieved the following usage statistics with their Accelerated Reader and Star Reading programmes:

  • 7,874 Accelerated Reader quizzes carried out over the last twelve months – an increase of 112.71%*
  • 797 Star Reading assessments carried out over the last twelve months – an increase of 1.33%*
  • Average ZPD level over the last twelve months – an average increase of 15.08%*
  • Average Accelerated Reader Quiz Percentage Correct of 79% over the last twelve months.*
  • Average Accelerated Reader Reading Level over the last twelve months – an average increase of 2.29%*
  • Average Star Reading Scaled Score over the last twelve months – an average increase of 21.49%*
  • Average time per Star Reading test over the last twelve months is 18 Minutes 35 Seconds*

Over the last three academic years since Boothferry Primary School have started using Accelerated Reader and Star Reader, the school achieved the following progress statistics according to data collected by the Department for Education:

  • Boothferry Primary School achieved an ‘Average’ Reading Progress Score in 2019, based on the school’s unique confidence intervals, this means the school still performed the same or better than 83% of other primary schools with the same confidence intervals.
  • Boothferry Primary School saw an increase in Reading Progress Score from 2017 – 2018 an increase of over +191.67% forecasting a continued increase of +627.27% by 2021*
  • Boothferry Primary School is performing better than 56% of other primary schools in the local authority of East Riding of Yorkshire based on Reading Progress Score.
  • Boothferry Primary School is performing better than 34% of other primary schools in England with similar pupil population figures and whose pupils entered KS1 with similar prior attainment.

To find out more about how your school can utilise the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance, click here.

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