Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

An Ofsted approved well oiled reading machine at Rodborough School

Rodborough School, Surrey, England

Rodborough School has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2004! 

Rodborough has been using Accelerated Reader (AR) and Star Assessments across the lower school for some time. The school recognises reading as one of the greatest and most important of human inventions and acknowledges that sustained and structured reading instruction is necessary for success as a reader and a learner. They want their students to be active, strategic, fluent and meticulous readers. Accelerated Reader provides a tool to support and monitor students’ reading in the transition from primary to secondary school as well as supporting the whole-school ‘Rodborough Readers for Life’ strategy.

In May 2022, the school received a ‘Good’ Ofsted inspection report. In the report, the inspector made specific observations on the school’s successful reading development strategy, including the following: 

“Leaders have made reading a high priority. Pupils’ reading needs are carefully identified and specially trained staff support those who need additional help. Pupils enjoy curling up with a book in the well-resourced library.”


Following this impressive feedback, we spoke to LRC Manager and Literacy Co-Ordinator Michelle to discover how she has spent the last seven years perfecting the use of Accelerated Reader and Star Reading within the school to promote an immersive culture of reading. 

A well-oiled reading machine

“Star Reader assessment data has been vital in analysing which students need support to make the best progress.”

The reading curriculum at Rodborough is designed to empower students to engage with reading in all its forms and to appreciate the value, enjoyment, cultural, aesthetic and health benefits of reading. It ensures the development of skills in ‘reading for pleasure and leisure’ as well as in ‘reading for progress’ and reading to learn. Our school motto is ‘inspire, challenge, lead’, and from the very beginning, when students join our school we work to inspire and challenge them as readers and prepare them to be leaders in reading and using the library.

We have established a reading culture at the school. Students engage with books they have chosen based on their interests and the ATOS level of the text. Reading sessions for KS3 students take place weekly as an integral element of the school curriculum. Students use this period to browse and borrow books, read independently, work in their Reading Journals and complete AR quizzes for the books they’ve finished.

AR quiz data is used as the basis of Reading Conferences with students: following up on how well they have done on their quizzes, guiding and challenging them on the skills to practice, and making suggestions for what they might read next.

This academic year we’ve carried out three Star Assessments, allowing us to monitor students’ reading comprehension and in turn to support those in need of intervention. Star Reading assessments update each student’s ZPD range so students can identify which books from our library best suit their level of ability: we know that students’ independent reading is at an appropriate level of challenge.

Following the disruptions to learning in the 19/20 – 20/21 academic years, this Star Reading assessment data has been vital in identifying which students need the most support with reading: both during this academic year and also as they move on to the next phase of their education.

Valuable data for vital support

“Having Star Assessment reports that outline pupils who are below benchmark or in need of urgent intervention give us the strategy we need to support them.”

Star Reading data has proved valuable in assessing our Year 9 students to identify whether they have the reading skills necessary to access advanced texts as they move into KS4. Having Star Assessment reports that show pupils below benchmark or in need of urgent intervention lets us support them.

We use the screening report from Star Reading to identify each student’s ranking against school and national benchmarks. The data generated by Star Reader reporting is particularly useful when analysing progress over an academic year or key stage. Once we have data from multiple assessments, we see a true reflection of students’ ability rather than from one isolated assessment. The data also highlights students whose results fluctuate over time, so teachers can consider what support would be most beneficial. Similarly, the data and reports for Star Reading highlight students who are demonstrating decreased to no progress so that we can offer intervention immediately.

The results from students’ Star Reading assessments are included in their core data sheets, meaning any teacher of any subject can look at every students’ reading progress and ability. We also share this data with our SENDCo to support individual intervention and the cross-curricular development of students who need the most support.

Getting back on track

“Over the next few academic years, using Accelerated Reader and Star reading data for intervention will be a must.”

Our current Year 8 students are the cohort whose learning was most disrupted due to the pandemic. Therefore, the Star Reading assessments have been invaluable in identifying the skills they’ve mastered in terms of reading proficiency and decoding and those that need further attention. We will continue to use the data to analyse the progress from pre-pandemic to now. Over the coming academic years, using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading data for intervention will be a must.

To find out how your school can utilise Accelerated Reader or Star Reading to support your school’s reading development strategy, click here.

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