Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

“Reading culture in our school has changed significantly since using Star Reading”

GEMS Wellington Academy, Dubai

Renaissance spoke with Cathair Hogan, Teacher and Data Assessment Leader from GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail in Dubai, about the profound effect Renaissance Accelerated Reader™, Star Reading™ and Star Maths™ have had on its students.

Time for change

As a school, we felt that we needed to change and update our reading system as there were a limited number of books and challenges for our children. After a few weeks of searching, we decided on Renaissance’s Star Maths, Star Reading and Accelerated Reader programs. We also needed another point for our assessment triangulation, and we believed Star Maths and Star Reading would fill that gap perfectly and ensure our judgements of progress and attainment are accurate.

One of our mandatory assessments in the UAE is the GL progress tests and being able to adjust the grade boundaries in Star Reading enables our teachers and leaders to monitor and predict our children’s grades in their end of year assessments. The diagnostic reports also allow class teachers to identify gaps and initiate interventions, so children can make rapid progress in lessons.

Encouraging independent reading

One of the key elements in education today is for children to be able to read across the curriculum. After being given a demo of Accelerated Reader, we thought that it would be a perfect tool to promote reading and further develop our children’s knowledge, understanding and love of reading across the curriculum as well as outside of home.

Children independently go to the library, choose their own book based on their ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) and complete their books before attempting their quiz. Every morning the library is a hive of activity as children from Year 2 to Year 6 change their Accelerated Reader books.

Rewarding students

Some years groups have set up competitions rewarding children who have passed all their quizzes in the week, those who have passed the most quizzes, and those who have read the most amount of words in one week.

Because of Star Reading and Accelerated Reader, our children have much more engagement in reading, their progress and attainment levels continuously rise, and the children are much more excited by our library and books. Since we implemented Star Reading and Accelerated Reader, both progress levels and attainment levels have risen year on year.

Rising attainment and progress levels

For the children, we have clearly seen their attainment and progress levels have risen at a meteoric rate since the introduction of Accelerated Reader and Star Reader. We have also seen a huge rise in their enjoyment of reading, especially in children who were initially reluctant readers. I can honestly say that all children love quizzing on Accelerated Reader.

The reading culture in our school has changed significantly. It is now a common sight to see children reading whilst walking through the corridors, eating at lunch time and waiting in our break-out areas at the start of the day, rather than playing on an iPad.

For teachers, Star Reading adds that extra piece of crucial data which triangulates with our other assessments to give a clear and comprehensive data picture for each child.

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