The most AR quizzes out of all Gaelscoileanna in Ireland
Gaelscoil an Bhradáin Feasa, Co. Meath, Ireland
Gaelscoil an Bhradáin Feasa has been using Accelerated Reader, Star Reading and myON, the Complete Literacy Solution, since 2019. In 2021, we discovered that the school had completed the most AR quizzes out of all Gaelscoileanna in Ireland.
We met with Múinteoir Áine to discover how the Complete Literacy Solution from Renaissance has helped pupils boost their reading engagement and proficiency.
We first looked into Accelerated Reader (AR) when a colleague had mentioned that they’d seen reading success in another school thanks to AR. Based on this feedback, we wanted to try AR for ourselves. We trialled it with one class for a year or so. We then included third and sixth class after that, and we have it in eight classrooms now.
Before that, we had small class libraries, so we brought all our books to the hall and had a big sorting day to organise the books and to select the books that are in the AR programme. These books were then all scanned and labelled appropriately and then returned to the relevant classes.
“With AR, we can scan books and see valuable metrics such as how many points pupils can earn per book.”
With AR, we can scan books and see valuable metrics such as how many points pupils can earn per book to keep them motivated to read more, and we now know each pupil’s reading age.
The baseline assessment for Star Reading, which we conduct at the beginning of the school year (and on two other occasions throughout the year), allows us to allocate books to specific classes.
In each class, we have three or four desktop computers. In addition to this 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd class have Chromebooks. Access to devices for every pupil makes a big difference in facilitating AR quizzes which are taken following every book a child reads.
Because pupils all read books at their own level, they finish reading at different times. Therefore, having Chromebooks for every pupil (or one between two) makes it a little easier for pupils to take a quiz in their own time.
“If pupils have access to their own devices, we can create bookmarks for the myON login site so they can read a myON book in their own space.”
If pupils have access to their own devices, we can create bookmarks for the myON login site so they can read a myON book in their own space or conduct a quiz on their own devices.
We have an allocated AR time every day, equivalent to ‘drop everything and read’ time. We usually carried out this initiative every morning for approximately fifteen minutes. Now, because of COVID, the buses are staggered, and pupils come into school at different times. When they come in, pupils just take out their books and start reading. This time is very relaxing and enjoyed greatly by the children.
This allocated period also gives me the chance to hear some pupils read and talk about what they’re reading. This period is precious for the pupils and me to check in and connect with them about reading.
We have a variety of small in-class competitions within the school-based around AR. For example, some classes set award targets based around a target of reading a certain amount of words as a class.
“The data and information from Star Reading reports show us clearly which pupils find reading comprehension or vocabulary acquisition more difficult.”
Star Reading assessments conducted at the start of every term show us the pupils’ ability. The data and information from Star Reading reports show us clearly which pupils find reading comprehension or vocabulary acquisition more difficult. The reports instantly flag which pupils require urgent intervention and in which areas of reading.
In particular, we refer to the Instructional Planning report from Star Reading. This report provides staff with a breakdown of skills to focus on and also allows us to monitor the pupil’s success.
“Since implementing AR, I have noticed pupils will always refer to reading their books or ask to complete an AR quiz if they have finished a task and are waiting for something to do.”
Since implementing AR, I have noticed pupils will always refer to reading their books or ask to complete an AR quiz if they have finished a task and are waiting for something to do.
Conversations around reading are now better than ever with pupils. So every couple of weeks, I’ll ask children what good books they’ve read recently. These conversations give the pupil a chance to essentially provide an oral book review showcasing to me how well they have understood and interpreted the text.
Our pupils now get excited when their latest books by their favourite authors arrive at the school to be added to our school library. AR also makes picking books such as the classics a possibility for children. So now, there is a wide range of books in our libraries that are both recommendations of teachers and pupils.