Wirral Grammar School for Boys, a selective 11-18 Grammar School, prides itself on its rich and extensive curriculum. To support younger readers and encourage them to keep on reading for pleasure as they move to Key Stage 4, the school decided to try the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme.

This was so successful that they purchased the programme again for a further few years, specifically for Year 7 and Year 8. Even in a selective school, there are plenty of ‘reluctant readers’ and the school has really valued having the data generated by the programme to share with parents in a meaningful way; enabling them to support students at home with reading in an informed manner. It is also possible to check whether students are fully engaging with texts by downloading reports on how many texts have been passed and by what margin. Parents need to know how to support their children with reading texts which will develop and enhance their skills, rather than leaving their reading levels static. Teachers and Form Tutors have reported plenty of positive exchanges with parents because of this.

We spoke to the Learning Resource Centre Coordinator, Ms. Viv Smith, who shared the significant achievements she had witnessed and documented in reading since the introduction of ‘Accelerated Reader’.

“When we were researching the reading programmes currently on the market; we really wanted to have something that was measurable in terms of impact, so we could identify student improvement and those students who needed some encouragement. We also wanted to use the data to precipitate a whole school discussion around reading, its vital importance in helping students reach their potential and ways in which staff could support this.

Viv said that the programme is extremely popular with students and has undoubtedly increased enthusiasm for reading. The programme is not limited to fiction but also includes non-fiction texts, including various articles. Many students who are not keen on fiction, really enjoy reading and quizzing on the articles

Students can ‘quiz’ in the Learning Resource Centre before school, breaktimes and lunchtimes; also during designated Library lessons and in IT suites on a weekly basis

The school has introduced prizes at the end of each term in various categories including ‘Most books read’, Most words read’ and the ‘Millionaire reader club,’ where membership is given once students have read a million words. The Tutor group who has the highest number of words read per term take part in ‘Beat the lunch queue’, leaving lessons five minutes early to be ahead of the rush, and as one might imagine, this is very popular with students!

Ms. Smith said that she wholeheartedly recommends ‘Accelerated Reader’ to other schools.

Share this post