Oasis Academy Wintringham had been using Accelerated Reader (AR) since 2008 with Years 7, 8 and 9. We originally introduced AR to combat low attainment and literacy levels on entry. Our students enjoyed reading during English lessons but would not consider reading independently nor did they view reading as an enjoyable activity to complete during their spare time; there was a general lack of interest in reading, talking about reading and wanting to do it. The low levels of literacy on entry obviously impacted on access to the curriculum and in order to ensure our students achieved all that we knew they were capable of we had to address this perception and improve their ability to read.
We joined the Renaissance School Partnership to relaunch AR in our Academy in 2015 and radically changed our provision and approach. We now dedicate two tutor periods to reading each week; we also have regular hour long library lessons, in which students can quiz with AR, and we also schedule 30 minutes of reading time in one of their English lessons, where they can also quiz.
Our librarian is a huge driving force in the success of AR because she creates themed displays and competitions each term and students are always keen to see what their library has turned into each half term! At the moment we are enjoying a ‘Jungle Book’ theme complete with monkey faces to represent each class to demonstrate average percent correct as they climb up each week. We also have a huge tree complete with animals which we will be using to place student names when they achieve 100% on AR quizzes. The library has always been a haven for our students but it has now become a place of imagination and excitement where students of all ages can curl up with a book and enjoy themselves.
For us, whilst we wanted to raise standards of literacy we also wanted to create a culture of reading for pleasure within the school. We have achieved 100% participation with our students in Years 7, 8 and 9 which means approximately 460 students are fully engaging with reading, something which would have been unheard of previously. We have been as creative as possible with rewards and the most successful reward has been tea and cake with me and the librarian when students achieve Millionaire status! It amazed us what buzz could be created from something so simple. We also hold an Oscars celebration event each year to reward diverse achievement and have a Millionaire Award for the most dedicated student to reading. This year’s prize was a signed John Boyne book and the student was delighted. All Millionaires are invited to this and we hold a ‘champagne reception’ for them and two guests as VIPs before the Oscars, complete with red carpet. World Book Day has also become a key date in our calendar with departments desperately trying to out do each other with themes and costumes. We ensure AR remains high proﬁle and above all fun and this is how we have successfully changed the culture around reading in our Academy.
The impact of AR has been immense. Our students made an average of 12 months progress in reading age across the academic year and one class achieved Master Class status. An accolade they were incredibly proud of, so proud that they still wear their badges in the following Academic year. As we began the 2016/17 academic year we wondered if this progress would be sustained. In fact, we have improved on our performance last year when the Autumn Term data is compared and this data also includes a further 140 students not included in the 2015/16 data. To date students have already passed 2830 quizzes and the number achieving 85% average percent correct has increased by 21% compared to last year. Our focus for this year is now on reading stamina and developing the amount of time students spend reading so that they are prepared for the demands of the new curriculum.
AR really is changing the lives of our students.
“Our librarian is a huge driving force in the success of Accelerated Reader because she creates themed displays and competitions each term and students are always keen to see what their library has turned into each half term! The library has always been a haven for our students but it has now become a place of imagination and excitement where students of all ages can curl up with a book and enjoy themselves.”