Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Taking Accelerated Reader into the future at Skegness Academy

Skegness Academy, Skegness

A rocky start!

We introduced Accelerated Reader into our academy in September 2018, when our library was in the process of being built. Unfortunately, there were delays in the library build so we couldn’t actually use it to its full potential until April this year! However, we set up a temporary library in the meantime in order to get things underway, and we could start using Star Reading assessments straight away.

“I think Accelerated Reader has started to encourage more children here to see reading as a good thing.”

Getting underway with the data

Even before our library was open, we had pupils undertaking the Star Reading assessment each term to see the level they were reading at and to help choose books best suited to them. The Star Reading test gives a definitive reading age which has not only helped with choosing suitable books, but has also helped teachers to provide work at the appropriate levels in the classroom. As the school administrator for the programme, I pass on the Star Reading data to the staff in the English department and they can use it to help when grouping pupils and when they need to differentiate work. They can also use it to put intervention into place if a pupil is particularly underachieving, or to have a conversation with them if the score is lower than expected or has dropped since the last Star Reading test.

Because I update teachers with the data from the programme regularly, teachers can have chats with pupils if they’re not participating. Staff know what’s going on and which pupils may be at risk of not getting the best out of the programme. This way we can try and keep all pupils on track and help them to get the most out of Accelerated Reader and Star Reading.

“Pupils who did not want to read at all at the beginning are now getting on board with reading a lot more.”

Daily library visits

Our pupils have one library lesson a week dedicated to reading and taking Accelerated Reader quizzes, but they can come and quiz at any break time, lunchtime, before school or after school: so there’s plenty of opportunity to access their quizzes on a daily basis. I also check Accelerated Reader data regularly, as I’ve set up a rewards system to encourage our pupils to read more and to access Accelerated Reader more.

As a result, more pupils are coming into the library! They’re excited for their library lessons and look forward to the opportunity to come and sit and read in a calm, peaceful location. I’m getting a lot more requests of books they would like in the library! They’re also enjoying tracking their progress to see if they’re meeting their termly points targets. Pupils who did not want to read at all at the beginning are now getting on board with reading a lot more. We still have some who are not so enthusiastic, but we’re working on them!

Accelerated Reader is also a fantastic programme for our pupils who don’t have books at home or whose parents don’t have the financial means to provide regular books at home. We’ve definitely seen improvement with our Pupil Premium students: their Star Reading scores are steadily increasing and they enjoy coming to choose a new book and see how well they’re doing!

The library at Skegness Academy now

Future growth

I think Accelerated Reader has started to encourage more children here to see reading as a good thing. Subsequently, it’s helping them discover new language and vocabulary, and to look at different people’s views and opinions of the world. It has encouraged them to ask questions and to explore different genres. The AR quizzes allow them to see if they really have read the book and to discover what style of books they like in terms of length, genre, non-fiction or fiction, etc. The point targets make pupils feel that they’re working towards something and the rewards system encourages them to aim to achieve all the certificates they can!

“We’ve definitely seen improvement with our Pupil Premium students.”

As this is still quite a new programme to the academy, I can only hope that it grows and that more and more of our pupils realise what a good thing reading can be. We’re excited about the future!

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