Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Recognising, rewarding and motivating reading at Lusaka International Community School

Lusaka International Community School, Zambia

Initially, we had been looking for a ‘reading test’ to assess children’s reading levels and, ultimately, their progress, but we have ended up with so much more! We discovered Accelerated Reader when we contacted other schools to find out what they use to assess reading. A UK based school told us about the Accelerated Reader programme, which prompted us to delve into further research to find out more.

The support we have received from Renaissance has been outstanding: before, during and after the implementation process. All queries are always answered promptly and professionally by the support team, whether on email or online chat sessions.

The implementation process we undertook to set up Accelerated Reader was time consuming, but vital to the success of the program. Initially we took part in several online training sessions, which were well delivered. Labelling the books was a massive undertaking. Every book needed to be entered into Book Guide in order for us to print out the labels, have them printed and stuck into each individual book. When you are faced with labelling several thousand books, this is a daunting task. The Accelerated Reader support team were particularly helpful, importing many of our library books into the program. Our teaching staff worked hard to ensure that every book was labelled, both inside and out, within two weeks, and the results have been so worth the time and effort we had to put in.

Recently we have bought in over 1000 new reading books to supplement our reading program. Thanks to Accelerated Reader, we were able to make informed decisions as to what books we should purchase.

Renaissance Star Reading tests are very useful to all teachers. Gifted and talented readers are easily identified for inclusion on enrichment programs, whilst children at the other end of the scale are identified early on for intervention programs. The Star tests inform teachers of the reading ages and levels we were initially seeking from a programme. Zones of Proximal Development (ZPDs) inform teachers where to place the children on the reading program. Progress is also checked and monitored by teachers, ultimately being fed back to parents through regular school reports.

At LICS we celebrate success and the Accelerated Reader Programme presents several opportunities for this. As each child reaches their termly targets, they are acknowledged in school assemblies and rewarded with a sticker and a house point. Children who reach one million words over the year become members of the Million Words Club, and are also recognised in assemblies and have their names on the library display board. Overall best readers, in terms of quantity and quality from each class, are recognised in our end of year award ceremonies.

The feedback that we have received from parents is positive. At the start of each academic year, we provide fliers to new parents, explaining the programme to them. In addition, we have opened the Renaissance Home Connect feature, where parents can monitor their child’s progress. Currently about 20% of our parents use this feature.

Implementing Accelerated Reader at LICS has been a highly successful move. There is greater motivation among students to read more regularly. Children can be seen around the school, both before and after, sitting with a book. There is always great excitement from a child when they score 100% on their quiz, and the children realise the importance of having to read more carefully, in order to keep their reading percentages above 85%.

Accelerated Reader has had a large impact in many areas of our Primary School. It is a very useful tool to teachers regarding assessing and monitoring, but more importantly, it has motivated many students to read.

We endorse, wholeheartedly, the programme without reservation.

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