Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Plugging the Reading Gap Post-Lockdown

Saltergate Junior School, North Yorkshire

Saltergate Junior School in North Yorkshire has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2017 to support the school’s reading development strategy. In addition, since April 2020, the school has been using myON, the digital library, to widen further reading access and engagement to all pupils throughout the school.

In January 2022, we got in touch with Saltergate Junior School after discovering that pupils had completed over 18,552 Accelerated Reader quizzes over the previous twelve months, the most quizzes completed in North Yorkshire! We got in touch with reading lead Tom Cliffe to chat about just how valuable the Complete Literacy Solution, consisting of Accelerated Reader, Star Reading, and myON has been supporting Saltergate Junior School.

After the January lockdown in 2021, we noted a gap in reading and writing progress. In addition, reading development had dropped off, despite pupils having more flexibility in their timetable working from home. Therefore, to counter any further regression in reading development, we utilised Renaissance solutions, including setting up myON projects for specific curriculum themes and adjusting Accelerated Reader to allow for quizzes to be completed from home.

Furthermore, we also adjusted the school day and extended it by 45 minutes until July 2021, and this was all targeted towards ‘closing the gap’ for reading and writing. 30 of the 45 minutes were placed at the end of the day to develop reading. Teachers were given the flexibility to identify specific areas in reading that needed to be developed and target them in whichever way they saw fit. Identifying appropriate skills is often conducted using additional guided reading sessions, which the school missed earlier in the year.

“Our teachers use myON projects linking to specific curriculum topics to support whole class guided reading.”

Our teachers use the whole-class texts we have invested in (2-3 books per year group), completing projects on myON linking to specific curriculum topics and our latest addition to guided reading skills: prosody. Prosody helps pupils develop speech units, including linguistic processes such as intonation, stress, and rhythm. The additional 30 minutes at the end of the day is evidenced in a document highlighting the progress ‘drop-off’ from September 2020 and tracking this at various points as a whole school until July 2021.

We’ve since continued this push to boost reading development and returned to half-termly reading celebrations assemblies (celebrating individual readers in each class as well as comparing average reading minutes and quiz percentages from class to class).


Evidence of impact from Saltergate Junior School’s ‘Post Lockdown Reading Age Monitoring’ analysis

The school completed a Star Reading Assessment to measure pupils’ levels after returning from the third lockdown. From September 2020 to March 2021, Tom would expect to see six months of progress.

This attainment is checked in the same way every half term in order to monitor the progress made and ‘close the gap’ for pupils who didn’t make the expected six months progress between September 2020 and March 2021 – up until the end of the 2021-22 academic year.

SATS Progress in Reading (up to lockdown)

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