Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

From Special Measures to Good, supported by Accelerated Reader

Coupals Primary Academy, Haverhill

Big areas needed tackling

Most of our pupils at our school will not read at home unless they’re told to, and pupils enter in Reception below the expected level, largely because of low levels of language and communication skills.

When I first started at Coupals Academy in 2014, the school had been in Ofsted’s Special Measures category for four months. It was below the national average in every area of the end of KS2 SATs, and there were children in my Year 6 class who would happily admit that they’d never finished reading an entire book.

The children were in desperate need of a consistent approach to improve attainment and engagement quickly. I’d worked in two different primary schools previously where I’d seen Accelerated Reader have a very positive impact, which is why I thought it could be successful at Coupals Academy too.

How we use Accelerated Reader

Now, Accelerated Reader is a part of daily life for all our students. We also use Star Reading assessments termly, which allow us to spot whether we need to start interventions with particular children, whom we would then test more frequently. Our students find the tests easy to take, and our staff – both teachers and TAs – are confident with analysing the results.

The consistent approach we were looking for

Our pupils now take reading very seriously! I’m often stopped excitedly in the corridor by children to tell me that they’ve just moved up a book level. There is a positive attitude to reading throughout the school and children are far more competent readers now. This supports them in accessing other areas of the curriculum.

Reading at Coupals now has the consistent approach we were looking for. Our children are able to independently select appropriate books for them, and they aren’t limited as to what they can read – Accelerated Reader offers quizzes on a vast range of books!

We’ve also had some very positive feedback from parents. We include each child’s ZPD and book level information in our parents’ consultation attainment information, so they can support their children to find books at the right level for them. We also give out prizes each week in assembly, for achievements such as the most words read in a week, or the best average percentage score in quizzes they’ve taken. Parents are always pleased to see how their children are making progress and Accelerated Reader is makes it very measurable – it’s easy to explain and understand.

The results speak for themselves

I’m very happy to say that Accelerated Reader has supported our pupils in achieving above national average results at the end of KS2 for the past three years – which is a significant, and quick, improvement for us. Attainment and progress in reading are strong across the school now. And our Ofsted report from September 2017, in which we were rated Good, featured some great comments too:

“Reading has been a key focus throughout the school. Leaders were disappointed with the KS2 reading outcomes in 2016. In response, they analysed effectively how to improve teaching and successfully made changes to ensure that their chosen teaching approach better met the needs of the pupils, particularly in the development of pupils’ vocabulary and their comprehension skills. As a result, pupils now make better progress in reading and the unvalidated results for 2017 are much improved, particularly in the number of pupils attaining a higher standard.”

At Coupals Primary Academy, we couldn’t be without Accelerated Reader.

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