Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Pupils Are Taking Reading Ownership at The Godolphin Junior Academy

The Godolphin Junior Academy , Slough

Over the last twelve months, The Godolphin Junior Academy has carried out the seventeenth-most Accelerated Reader quizzes in the UK & Ireland by completing 39,985 AR quizzes and 2,317 Star Reading. Correspondingly, a steady increase is found in both pupils’ average AR reading level (+8.64%) and Star Reading ZPD level (+10.29%) at the Academy.


We have spoken with Sally Clayton, Reading Specialist, to determine how Accelerated Reader and Star Reading played a vital role in their reading strategies. Sally explained that Godolphin is committed to enhancing every pupil’s engagement and attainment in reading. This is achieved by having a clearly communicated purpose across the whole school and a routine and strategy that works for everyone. In the early stages of using Accelerated Reader, Sally had discovered that the programme had a direct impact on pupils’ improving their individual reading skills but over time this has been built upon much further. Now Accelerated Reader is featured in assemblies, in celebration events, in competitions, in-home learning, with parent workshops and it has become a core ingredient of the reading culture across the whole school. 

Reading Autonomy

Before Accelerated Reader, The Godolphin Junior Academy followed a strictly regimented reading scheme through the colour bands. Accelerated Reader allowed them to have the freedom to become independent readers. Students love the empowerment of their choices and take ownership of the texts they choose. Sally said, Accelerated Readers are generally self-motivated; they are taking %100 accountability and leading their reading development.

She highlighted one of the biggest positives she has experienced: Pupils are always encouraged, supporting them to become independent readers. She has also noticed that broad demographics for boys, disadvantaged pupils and/or reluctant readers have gone through a significant change after the introduction of Renaissance solutions.

Accelerated Reader also allowed Godolphin students to find their voice on their reading preferences. Before, there was a stigma around reading within schools that children haven’t really had access to books that they want to read. Now students can access a wide range of texts within their ZPD and take ownership of their preferences to succeed.

Triweekly, students also have Relax and Read sessions, in which 15 minutes of a classroom is solely devoted to reading their brand book or taking an AR quiz. Hence, giving pupils time to progress autonomously within school hours. It is a fantastic approach to motivate pupils further to associate reading with pleasure.

At first, staff had some challenges transitioning into the new approach. After realising the positive outcomes at an early stage, the transition of utilising these solutions happened very smoothly and quickly.


“Accelerated Reader allows students to have the freedom to become independent readers.”

Diagnostic Reports and Parental Engagement 

AR and Star Reading allows Sally to monitor and track every child in the school. Not a single child can slip under the net through seeing the report outcomes. Every week, they run and share a “RenReport” to see the reading progress of each individual via exporting the Accelerated Reader diagnostic reports. The report showcases the average number of quizzes, class average targets, the reluctant readers’ progress and highlights the disadvantaged pupils.

There are 460 children at the Academy. The reports help them highlight each pupil reading within the ZPD range and accelerating progress each term. They call this progress: the children climbing the ladder.

At the Goldophin Academy, the students undertake Star Assessments termly to identify learning gaps and instantly track pupil progress. They have seen that pupils who are hitting 500 on a scale score have got 50% chance of meeting the minimum standard on their SATs. Furthermore, anyone hitting more than 500 is more likely to pass the minimum standard score.

Sally expressed that she finds the reports truly helpful. They support highlighting breakdown of the urgent intervention, intervention and beyond watch students. This latter allows her to modify her reading strategies for each pupil who needs extra support. For critical intervention, pupils, for example, they adopt triweekly monitored reading sessions. They believe children at the benchmark and above benchmark are also vital to be monitored and tracked. They require a modified approach to provide a continuous challenge to succeed. Therefore, the Star Assessment is an inclusive report that allows covering every demographic in the school.

AR and Star Reading Reports provides key reading data for the governors, parents and headteacher. Any approach for promoting reading at school is shared with parents to experience the student growth firsthand. They have experienced that students read more at home, and parents want to be more involved in their reading development. Parental involvement and passion is also tangible evidence of the success of the current reading development strategy. These reports also give The Godolphin Junior Academy transparency over their accelerating reading growth.

“Star Assessment is an inclusive report that allows covering every demographic in the school”

Celebrating Success 

Sally explained their ways of celebrating success as,

“We also use the sunflower targets across to school to incentives reading for pleasure. At the end of the term, anyone who fulfils their sunflower target within their ZPD range is awarded a lovely hamper of goodies to encourage pupils to push themselves to attain a sense of accomplishment. We also have a leader board for the millionaire readers. This also creates a big celebration for pupils and really motivates them to read independently. Both approaches encourage our students to take action and take ownership of their reading development.”

Students indeed take autonomy overseeing their product, like watching the sunflower rise and seeing their development progress radicals with the academic year. The visual for seeing their sunflower grow is a real motivation for them.

Sally believes that proficient reading skills lead to better opportunities for the pupils. The whole school and staff are dedicated to developing a love of reading. They like to set an ideology where reading is not a chore but a passion. She also indicated that they would maintain their successful reading strategy, including utilising Accelerated Reader and Star Reading to sustain the reading culture.

“The school will maintain its successful reading strategy, including utilising Accelerated Reader and Star Reading to sustain the reading culture.”

To find out how your school can provide bespoke reading practice for all pupils,  click here.

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