Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Reading Culture at Leighton Academy

Leighton Academy, Cheshire, England

From August 2020 to April 2022, the pupils of Leighton Academy in Cheshire completed over 28,000 Accelerated Reader book quizzes and more than 3,000 Star Reading assessments to promote reading for pleasure and as part of their literacy development strategy.

Following this incredible achievement, we connected with teacher and literacy lead Marie. She explains why Accelerated Reader and Star Reading play a crucial role in the school’s ongoing aim of providing reading confidence to all pupils.

Marie explains:

Accelerated Reader expectations

“Every pupil is reading a book that’s at the right level for them – that is something that we wanted from Accelerated Reader, and it does that for us.”

Reading has been a key priority for us for several years. Our children often saw reading as something done in school, so we introduced Accelerated Reader in 2019 to support the reading for pleasure side of things for our pupils. Since we came back from lockdown, we really got started with Accelerated Reader, and it’s made a huge difference within our school with the excitement and buzz of reading, which we’ve never had before. I think a lot of that is down to Accelerated Reader. I oversee the transition from key stage 1 to key stage 2, and the excitement and buzz that pupils get when they find out they’re going to be on the Accelerated Reader programme is tangible.

You can see the leap they make in their reading progress once they get onto Accelerated Reader because they see all the books that are suddenly available to them. Suddenly they see themselves as a reader, and it’s a huge milestone for them. Accelerated Reader hits many areas for us as an academy. We invested in high-interest, low-level books for pupils in years 3,4 and beyond who still need support with reading because they still feel like they’re reading a ‘proper book’ and can still carry out the respective Accelerated Reader book quiz too. Getting the right level of books was key for us to ensure pupils were reading at the right level.

We now have a central shared area for books, and each classroom has its own library. So we spent a lot of time labelling every book to ensure every pupil knew if the book was the right level for them. So we know that every pupil is reading a book that’s at the right level for them – that is something that we wanted from Accelerated Reader, and it does that for us.

Star Reading data

“The reports from Star Assessments are absolutely clear.”

We find that the data and reports we can pull off from Star Reading are really useful for us, not just for SLT but for class teachers as well, to see an overview of how their pupils are progressing with reading and which pupils need more support. For example, I frequently refer to the Growth report to see the increase in each pupil’s reading age compared to previous Star Reading assessments. Support staff are also very involved with Star Reading and Accelerated Reader. Ensuring that all staff received training for both programmes was important to ensure that we can support every pupil if they’re identified as slipping down and needing extra help.

The reports from Star Assessments are absolutely clear, and if any staff have any questions, they can come to me, and we will look at the reports together. We sit down together and look at the key reports we want to focus on, but when we receive additional training from Renaissance, we can expand our knowledge on multiple reports. We have chosen some key reports to track the expected progress and determine the learning needs to provide an individual picture of students’ achievements. Star Parent Report, for instance, has been useful to inform and engage parents in their children’s progress and how they are doing in school.

Star Reading - Sample Growth Report - Renaissance

Cultivating a Reading Culture

“With Accelerated Reader, we pioneered a reading incentive program that has been an ideal path for our other schools in our trust.”

In our academy, we try to sustain an environment where reading is championed and encouraged. We are attributed to many incentives for building toward that reading culture across the whole school. With Accelerated Reader, we pioneered a reading incentive program that has been an ideal path for our other schools in our trust. Now, we have taken on board to share our experiences and achievements to showcase Accelerated Reader’s good use and practice.

We really push reading achievements through weekly achievement assemblies, AR certificates, awards and word millionaires to celebrate students’ accomplishments and boost motivation. Over the years, we have also discovered that AR caters to our boy students’ interests; they tend to engage even more with word millionaire awards. These awards give them physical proof of how well they are doing in school. Hence, Accelerated Reader-supported us to incentives our reading culture across the school. Thereby, all teachers, parents and students love seeing the autonomous growth and championing the individual achievements.

Benchmarking Analytics

“The data assists us in determining the key areas and skills to focus on and master.”

AR provides us with valid and reliable quiz information, allowing teachers to see how students progress towards the national benchmarks. Star Assessments support us in classifying pupils’ achievements based on national standards and group them depending on their ability levels. Thus, we do half-termly assessments to determine above benchmark students and inform urgent intervention groups. The data assists us in determining the key areas and skills to focus on and master. Since we introduced Star and Accelerated Reader, we have increased our reading outcome considerably. The parents especially enjoy the guidance and the transparency we provide them with these parents’ analytics reporting.

Renaissance Accelerated Reader

Click here to learn how your school can utilise Accelerated Reader and Star Reading to support your school’s reading development strategy.


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