Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Creating a reading culture at Mickleton Primary School

Mickleton Primary School, Gloucestershire

Having experienced success with Accelerated Reader (AR) at previous schools and acknowledging its consistency in supporting reading progress, Mickleton Primary School’s SENDCO, Nikki Britt, was delighted to introduce it at her school, who have now been using it since 2019. Nikki wants to ensure that students are able to access various resources confidently by acquiring proficiency in reading and that literacy progress is being monitored regularly and efficiently.

 

“AR has been really successful – everyone has embraced it!”

 

The school have updated the library with a massive range of texts under the umbrella of AR. Now, they can keep students up to date with new books which has allowed students to take quizzes regularly – they are often keen to once they’ve completed a book!

Reading growth is a partnership between home and school

The introduction of AR into Mickleton’s school library has encouraged a community of support surrounding the culture of reading. Teachers and staff members are thoroughly committed to nurturing pupils’ literacy skills and supporting reading growth in all children. This is further embedded through its successful relationship with parents. Since implementing AR into the school’s reading practice, there has been an influx of parents donating books and labelling them, now – it’s a whole school community! Nikki notes that in addition to the big launch of AR in the school, once they begin using it alongside myON, students will be able to use texts at home. For the students and teachers at Mickleton, this is timely as they do not have a school librarian. Nikki tells us that throughout lockdown parents were visiting the school, coming to collect more books to label. This helped massively aid the smooth roll out of AR. Nikki further adds that as a result of this, each zone in the school library is now clearly labelled to guide its students, “go to library get a 1.6 book”, and they know where to go.

 

Monitoring student progress with reliable data

The data gathered from AR and Star Reading have been incredibly helpful in allowing teachers to monitor student progress over time. Overall, data from reading is taken from the progress within reports from Accelerated Reader and Star Reading, where the school have set up a structured routine, carrying out Star Assessments once a half-term to summarise progress data which has been collected throughout the term. Nikki informs us that progress data is shared with schools and governors because,

 

“The data and reports from Star Assessments and Accelerated Reader are the best to measure and present progress – the reports are so visually clear, including all the illustrations and graphs.”

The schools use of Star Assessments has allowed it to offer appropriate intervention to all pupils. Nikki adds that by identifying which pupils need more support, staff can set up intervention groups for additional practice tasks such as phonics, reading comprehension and guided reading exercises. Noting that it is often these pupils who are likely to struggle with reading comprehension, she has identified concepts that are difficult for them to understand. Nikki explains, the school have adopted a point, evidence and explanation structure to support pupils in asking relevant questions that support their understanding of a text.

AR has created a uniform reading scheme across Mickleton Primary School, prior to its introduction different classes were using various methods for reading practice. Now, with AR there is consistency across the year groups. Nikki claims that AR has also been perfect for getting teachers up to date with modern texts and what children are reading because it changes all the time.

Engagement, enthusiasm and pleasure for reading

In early years, year 1 and year 2 pupils take books home and actually read them. Subsequently, when they return to school, they quiz on their books, go up a level and feel motivated to continue their learning journey.

“AR has given pupils the enthusiasm to go home and read and see a tangible outcome.”

Pupils can motivate themselves by visually seeing their progress, such as the sunflower on their AR profile, whilst older pupils enjoy competing against friends and seeing how well their doing. It’s good for them to see how much they’re progressing! Nikki states that prior to introducing AR, there wasn’t a massive drive for reading but since using it, a culture of reading has come back that was needed.

Celebrating student achievement

“AR is really good at measuring all kinds of different books, numbers of books and celebrating achievements.”

To celebrate achievements in AR and encourage its students to stay motivated in their reading practice, the school hold continuous book voucher competitions based on books read, or words read. In a previous school Nikki worked at, they used to give out prizes and have different types of competitions for students. In that instance, a full-time librarian would get information every week and draft up an action plan.

Nikki tells us, one achievement the school are particularly proud of is that of Key-Stage 1 pupils and their use of Accelerated Reader. In 2020/2021, only one child wasn’t on AR. This year, seven children in year 1 are actively using AR and the school are also including children in reception.

Embracing the Complete Literacy Solution

Moving forward, myON will complement AR and give families the opportunities to read more at home. With myON, when children are keen to read more they can go online to do it. Nikki explains, the fact that pupils are so eager is because their reading is improving. The school are always looking at various ways of using AR for celebration and continuing to update its library. There is now a demand to get more resources added into the school library since students have become more eager to read and motivated to see their progress in taking quizzes.

What we’ve found…

AR and Star have given pupils the ability to answer their key stage 2 SATs paper, not just for the literature paper; all of the quizzes give them skills to approach a variety of questions. To answer challenging questions where pupils have to use comprehension skills to pinpoint the right answer, not only are year 1 doing a quiz on each book they’ve read, but they’re also practicing skills to approach future test papers more confidentially.

Here’s what pupils at Mickleton Primary School had to say:

“I love taking the quizzes and watching my sunflower grow.”

“I love finding new books in our library.” I’m looking forward to reading some of the classic fiction this year”

“AR makes me want to read more”

To find out how your school can utilise Accelerated Reader and Star Reading to support pupils’ reading engagement, click here


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