Clarity and Corroboration with Accelerated Reader
Jeavons Wood Primary School, Cambridge, England
Jeavons Wood Primary School has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2019 to support their reading development strategy.
We spoke to Year Six Teacher and English Lead Alice Evans about how Accelerated Reader and Star Reading have maintained strong levels of reading engagement and, most importantly, enjoyment for pupils throughout Jeavons Wood Primary School.
A New Systematic Approach to Reading
“Almost immediately, we found that children were making a lot more informed decisions about the books they were choosing.”
At Jeavons Wood Primary School, it’s part of our reading culture to encourage all pupils to become absorbed in a world of independent reading.
But this ambition starts with ensuring all pupils know which books are appropriate for them in both levels of ability and interests. For example, before Accelerated Reader (AR), we noticed many pupils were picking up quite thick books and starting them but quickly becoming disengaged and not finishing them.
Therefore, we just found that our previous system wasn’t working, and we wanted something a lot more structured for those children, so that’s what prompted our decision.
That’s when we decided to buy into AR, and with the time we spent getting it set up, labelling every book with their respective AR book label and getting used to the programme, it really paid off. We started seeing results, really, really quickly.
We found that AR met our requirements of something that supported all children once they got into that world of being independent readers.
We’re lucky to have an extensive library space, and we knew we needed to buy a few more books to fill a lot of the gaps with all of the AR book bands.
We created our own AR section in the library. At first, we couldn’t decide whether to organise the books by author surname or by AR label colour. However, we eventually agreed that organising them by AR label colour was the most straightforward.
At first, we weren’t sure if the new library layout would be accessible for children, but we wanted to encourage children to use it almost like an adult library. We wanted pupils to have the freedom to look at the same books with their friends. And it was actually much easier to organise it by colour, and that’s worked really well for us.
Almost immediately, we found that children were making a lot more informed decisions about the books they were choosing. In addition, I think pupils found it a lot more of an enjoyable experience.
With AR book labels outlining the complexity of each book, pupils have an idea of whether a book is suitable for them before they pick it, which was helpful because choosing a book used to be a daunting experience for some of our children.
Once they’re in that situation of picking a book, for the first time, pupils find they have free choice of a wide range of books but within a colour type that is appropriate for their current level of ability. So that gave them an element of knowing what was in their comfort zone.
“We know pupils are reading and absorbing book content with Accelerated Reader because we can see the engagement data.”
We’ve definitely noticed that our pupils are now more self-motivated and self-aware of their reading journey.
AR allows pupils to read independently and ensures that teachers track how many quizzes are being completed. We’ve got a variety of rewards systems in place for completing quizzes; for example, we’ve got a millionaire’s club going.
We celebrate reading engagement and success as a whole school and at more of a micro-level within the classroom; teachers have systems that work for them, such as certificates for completing a certain number of quizzes.
We’re finding that children are more motivated and take a lot more responsibility for their own reading development. We know pupils are reading and absorbing book content with Accelerated Reader because we can see the engagement data.
For instance, teachers can download various reports from Accelerated Reader to see a comprehensive overview of reading engagement and quiz success for all pupils using AR.
Now, our teachers can see how many quizzes pupils are completing. This data allows teachers to have better conversations with those children about the kind of books that they’re choosing.
When we first got AR, children were really excited, and the more they got used to the programme, the more informed they became around their subsequent book choices.
I think now that pupils are really getting that sense of achievement through AR. I’ve certainly noticed that pupils are not just reading more books, but they’re more aware that they’ve understood it.
Accurate and Reliable Data
“I personally like the Growth Report as it allows me to analyse individual or whole-class reading trends and areas for improvement in one simple snapshot.”
The Star Reading assessments align with the results in different reading assessments and pupils’ individual and class benchmarking. So it’s really great to see how accurate that data is.
For me, it’s been brilliant working with my colleagues using the wealth of reports that are available via Star Reading.
I personally like the Growth Report as it allows me to analyse individual or whole-class reading trends and areas for improvement in one simple snapshot.
Similarly, I know my colleagues appreciate the Diagntoic Report, which outlines pupils are “on watch” with their reading development. Again, the report highlights all information in a precise colour coordinated format.
It has taken time for students to adjust to the computer-adaptive multiple choice questions in both the AR quizzes and Star Reading Assessments. However, now that they are familiar with the process, we can ensure assessments are conducted to their best quality.
It’s brilliant to see how the data from Star Reading assessments aligns with our teacher assessments.
We use the various reports from Star Reading to share progress insight in SLT, governance and school effectiveness meetings. We use this valuable data to analyse reading and learning trends throughout the school. feed into our trends across the school and
We also share some of the progress data from Star Reading with parents during parent’s evening, where we can show parents what we’re explicitly monitoring.
Star reading assessment data provides an instrumental piece in the picture that adds to our summative assessments and teacher judgments. In addition, the data is beneficial for analysing the progress and support needed for our SEND pupils.
Star Reading is a handy tool to confirm those teacher judgments, but the data also identifies the need for additional intervention and learning support requirements for pupils.
When I know a child has made excellent progress in the class, it’s nice to see that it tends to be reflected in our Star Reading data.
When pupils return to school ahead of the next academic year in September, we will conduct Star Reading assessments within the first two weeks back to analyse how much reading deceleration has occurred during the summer holidays, if any.
These baseline Star Reading assessments will be crucial in helping us in seeing if there are any patterns or if any children have shifted into the “on watch” category of reading support.
Based on that feedback, we’ll then pick up on each pupil’s reading development again and run intervention sessions, as we usually would but with the corroboration of Star Reading data.
A Concrete Resource for our Continuous Reading Development Strategy
“It’s exciting to see where our journey with Accelerated Reader and Star Reading will take us.”
It’s exciting to see where our journey with Accelerated Reader and Star Reading will take us. I think it’s nice to see how confident staff feel with AR now because it’s a big thing to take on, but it can be an essential resource for tracking learning and development when used well.
Still, it’s been brilliant to see you know how everybody’s made it their own and it’s just become embedded in the school.