Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

“I’ve seen the change in my pupils and in my own children.”

Keresley Grange Academy, Coventry

When I started at the school, nearly four years ago, it was in quite a desperate state. We really needed to prioritise reading. Our children weren’t reading at all and the library was rarely used. When I heard about Accelerated Reader, I thought it was worth trying, to see if it would make any difference – but to be honest, I had no idea what kind of difference it would make.

We can’t get enough of the library!

Implementing Accelerated Reader forced us to put a lot of investment into our library, which was definitely a good thing! We completely re-catalogued it, trained up some more members of staff in using the library systems, and began to show our pupils how to use it too. And now – well, I’ve actually had to move the library three times since we got our pupils using Accelerated Reader because of the huge increase in stock and usage! One lunchtime, we had children queuing down the corridor waiting to get in.

Now, we have scanners in every classroom so children can scan books in and out straight from their classrooms, and we have the library open before and after school, which we never did before because it just wasn’t used enough. And we have two librarian staff working in the library every lunchtime to help the children choose and find their next book.

Using Accelerated Reader with every child

We start children on Accelerated Reader from the beginning of Reception. The teacher reads the class a story, and then they all quiz on the book together. Starting them so early really supports vocabulary and comprehension development, as well as their understanding of how to quiz.

As children go into Year 1, they begin to quiz independently, and that goes on all the way up to Year 6. We have a 20-minute Accelerated Reader slot every day for each child to read, change books and quiz, as well as an additional hour every week on top, averaging 32 minutes a day focused on reading and quizzing.

Encouraging boys to read more

Before we started using Accelerated Reader, boys in the school weren’t reading at all. So we started by doing a Boys vs Girls word count each week to try to encourage both parties to read more words. In the first week – well, it was embarrassing! The girls won by thousands and thousands of words. But the second week, and from then on, it’s been neck and neck! Now, our boys are reading vastly. They love that competitive element to it, and they love to know how many words they’ve read and how well they’ve done on the quizzes. I’ve definitely seen a change across the school in the way that boys think about reading.

Excelling expectations

I’ve really seen the change on a personal level. My own children go to Keresley Grange, and my son used to be a very disengaged boy reader. He’d never choose to pick a book up. But now I’m constantly having to think about what he might like to read next. Children are swapping books in school, and with books that are really popular they’re actually bringing in their own copies from home and sharing those. You’ll always find them in the playground talking about what’s happening in the story, talking about the characters, and asking each other which books they’ve read. What I wanted to gain was a love of reading, and I think that’s what we’ve achieved here through Accelerated Reader.

The impact that Accelerated Reader’s had astounds me. I never would have predicted it. I almost feel as though it should be standard in every school: if you can’t read, you can’t do anything, and Accelerated Reader has really had an impact on engaging our children to read fluently, with interest and with good comprehension. It’s such a powerful tool. As a headteacher and a mum, I can see that it’s made a massive difference.

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