Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

‘Children are more likely to become lifelong readers now’, two months after implementing Renaissance Accelerated Reader

White Rose Primary School, New Tredegar, Gwent

In 2016, the school became involved with the Caerphilly Reading Project.  As part of the project, we implemented Renaissance Accelerated Reader in September 2016 aiming to improve reading levels and enthusiasm for reading among the children.  We’ve established a new library in the junior section of the school which children are able to visit daily to change their books and take Accelerated Reader quizzes.

The children love the programme: it has already made a clear difference across the whole school.  Reading has become an integral part of everyday life at the school and children – boys in particular – who would not necessarily have been able to discuss reading previously are now saying that they want to read, they want to find books, and are interested in authors.  Enthusiasm is really through the roof, we’re having to tell children in Maths and Geography lessons to put their books away so we can teach them something else!  We even had to tell children that they can only go to the library when a librarian is there because they were going all the time; the programme has quite literally become a part of everyday life.  Children used to want to go and play in the yard, but now they’re equally excited by the prospect of visiting the library, finding books, quizzing them and moving forward with their reading.  We’ve seen such an improvement in reading attitude and engagement, and a lot of the time we’re seeing it from students we would not have expected to.

The quizzes themselves are one of the strongest draws of Accelerated Reader.  We know the quizzes are engaging them because the children can’t wait to take them, they enjoy the fact that when they finish the book they aren’t just putting it down with that being the end of it.  Instead they go, pick up an iPad and take a quiz, and when they receive immediate feedback telling them that they’ve passed, it gives them a sense of instant success.  At first some children were rushing through books so they could get to the quiz, but we’ve made sure that they take their time and understand what they read.  They realise now that it is comprehension that we’re looking at, and they’re much more prepared to think about the question and read their books properly, and as a result the process of reading has really captured them.

At the beginning of the year the children took a Renaissance Star Reading test, to determine their reading age and Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), which tells us the difficulty range of books they can access while developing their reading.  It gives us a much wider picture of student ability: at first some parents had noticed that their children were reading easier books than they used to, without realising that, while their child may have been reading a more challenging book they may not have been understanding it.  We’re now able to monitor that comprehension, and the children understand that their comprehension of what they are reading is what matters.  We’ve moved away from reading schemes now, and children are choosing the books they read at home, and are asking parents to buy them books and take them to the library.  They are seeing reading becoming easier for them: it’s much easier to get them reading and they know that they can read and understand the books they are selecting, and I think we’re much likelier to see lifelong readers as a result.

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