Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Boosting reading enthusiasm in East Lothian

Loretto RC Primary School, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Motivating readers using points targets

We use Accelerated Reader with all children in P4 and above, also implementing it with select P3 pupils.  We schedule in at least 15 minutes of silent reading every day.  Younger pupils visit the library once per week to take quizzes and change books, while those further up the school use the programme quite independently.  We also have laptops and netbooks in each class, so children can quiz during scheduled reading and literacy times as well.

We set points targets within Accelerated Reader; the points children receive from reading and quizzing have really engaged them.  When children reach their target we reward them with a certificate – they’re very motivated by these milestones.  A lot of our more reluctant readers start reading more to get points and reach their target, and then find that they do actually enjoy reading as a hobby, and then develop an interest in it.  Children really enjoy taking Accelerated Reader quizzes.  They aren’t viewed as a chore, and pupils are keen to achieve 100% and move further towards their points target.

The point values of our books give children an idea of their length as well.  They know that a 3 point book is something they could read quite quickly, whereas a 12 point book is considerably longer.  It helps to inform their book choices.

Using data to foster enthusiasm

Accelerated Reader has also enabled us as staff to improve the book recommendations we make, alongside Renaissance Star Reading.  We administer a Star Reading test each term, which immediately gives us a huge amount of information about each child’s reading ability.  This includes their reading age, and their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) – the difficulty range they should primarily read within to maximise growth.  Star is a great indicator of progress over time as well; it helps us to spot children who aren’t making the progress we would want very quickly.  With these data available, along with how many points they need to read their target and information on books they’ve read previously, we have so many more options when it comes to guiding reading.  We can ensure also that everyone is reading at the right level for them, within their ZPD.  This way they’re learning while reading without it being too challenging for them.

Parents are interested in and enthusiastic about the programme.  Although, as we’ve used it for over four years Accelerated Reader is mostly seen as just the way we teach reading here.  They’re especially keen on Renaissance Home Connect, which enables parents to receive an email whenever their child completes a quiz, with their results.  There is a general buzz and interest around books at the school; we often see pupils discussing books and recommending them to each other.  Accelerated Reader has proven very motivational for our children and boosted their enthusiasm towards reading.

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