When we originally introduced Accelerated Reader in 2011 we were looking to promote reading for pleasure, but to do so in a way that also enabled us to see how well children were understanding their books and to give them a means of selecting books that were appropriate for them, rather than choosing randomly.
We initially linked up Accelerated Reader with a new library programme we introduced to monitor what books were checked in and out of the library, and the programmes worked well together in enabling us to monitor reading habits. The library is open at set times during the day: children read and quiz in the classroom, and when children come to the library we have conversations with them about what they were choosing to read, and help them to make those choices if they are struggling to ﬁ nd something they enjoy. For instance, a lot of our children enjoy reading series of books, and when they ﬁ nish them we can now support them in deciding what to read next. Accelerated Reader has had a huge impact on reading at the school. It’s made reading more transparent, it’s easier to see how well children have understood concepts in the book, it’s easier for parents to support their children with reading, and it’s easier for children to link reading done outside school with reading done in the classroom. We look at reports weekly, and there are conversations about how children are doing and what they are reading all the time. We use the programme every day, and there’s an expectation that children read at home every day too. Children talk about books a lot more, and recommend them to one another all the time.
At the moment Tom Gates by Liz Pichon is a very popular series, and David Walliams is a popular author. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg is a popular book amongst the older students. We’ve recently got a new delivery of books in, and 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Grifﬁths is very popular, as is Rainbow Magic by Daisy Meadows. The Dork Diaries series, Barry Loser and Big Nate are all popular as well. The children talk about books all the time, they can name authors, and the village library has seen borrowing go up massively. They’re motivated and engaged and they know their books, and they’ll come and request books for the library too which is really positive.
We have a huge focus on reading in school, and Accelerated Reader is very much a cornerstone of our multi-layered approach. We introduced targets within the programme last year, which has had the biggest impact we’ve seen since we ﬁrst implemented the programme. It’s really helped with encouraging reading outside school and engaging reluctant readers. As targets vary depending on ability, we’ve changed our incentives, rewards and treats to be based on their targets, so they’re now achievable for everyone. Our children are conﬁdent readers, our reading attainment is high, and their ability to transfer reading skills is very good also, so the reading picture in school is looking fantastic!
“Accelerated Reader has had a huge impact on reading at the school. It’s made reading more transparent, it’s easier to see how well children have understood concepts in the book, it’s easier for parents to support their children with reading, and it’s easier for children to link reading done outside school with reading done in the classroom.”