We live in a world of constant change. Endless new challenges await our children and we will need bright and bold minds to build a better future. Minds that will need the right people behind them.

That’s why at The Mall we seek to ignite the love of learning. A love that can last a lifetime. We believe with confidence and curiosity, any child can overcome the challenges they face.

The Mall School has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2017. During the 21/22 academic year, the students at The Mall School read an astonishing 125,332,100 words!

Following this outstanding achievement, we got in touch with Deputy Headteacher James to find out why the school has continued to include Accelerated Reader as a core component of the school’s reading development strategy for the last five years.

James Explains:

Monitoring Reading Engagement

“Students are motivated to read a million words, which keeps them engaged in reading.”

Accelerated Reader allows us to track and see how well students have understood what they’ve read, so we get a regular reflection of their level of comprehension. Based on that, we can track their progress with reading and move them up to the next band of books when they are ready. Using this approach, tracking their reading progress is simple and accurate.

Every class has a weekly lesson in the library where they can read, access laptops to answer AR quizzes and select new books. They are also able to access the library at break times in order to do this.

The pupils can also access Accelerated Reader from home, so if they finish reading books at home, they can take a book quiz immediately. This initiative also helps students remain engaged with reading throughout the holidays, where we might set them particular challenges to read a certain number of books. Opening up Accelerated Reader quizzes from home also allows parents to get an accurate impression of their child’s reading progress.

Accelerated Reader also allows us to see how much reading the pupils are doing. Students get rewarded if they reach a million words in the year, which many of them do. It’s a challenge that they really enjoy as well.

Accurate Assessment

“With Star Assessments reports, we can illustrate the progress of individual groups within the school; for example, we can demonstrate that SEN students are making as much progress as their peers.”

In addition to Accelerated Reader, we also use Star Reading and Star Maths assessments. We conduct Star Assessments once every term, and they allow us to assess our pupils’ understanding of literacy and maths. Star Assessments give us a standardised score for both maths and reading, which helps us track pupil progress throughout the year.

Star Assessments allow us to build a picture of how well each pupil, and groups of pupils, are doing at any moment and provide us with important value-added data.

When analysing Star Assessments data and reports, we look closely at each student’s Norm-Referenced Standardised Score (NRSS). The NRSS metric allows us to track pupil progress and helps us decide on the movement of pupils between sets. Although it’s not used exclusively to determine whether pupils move up or down a set, it’s something we use in conjunction with all the other data to inform setting arrangements in English and maths.

Star Assessments also enable us to see if pupils’ progress in reading or maths is dropping. If a pupil’s standardised score has gone down for whatever reason, we can see the topic in which they’ve struggled and subsequently put in place intervention strategies to support them. In addition, we can see the specific skills in Star Assessments that pupils need to master.

We share the reports and data with parents to give them an overview of their child’s progress. This data is equally helpful for showing the progress pupils have made to inspectors and school governors. With Star Assessments reports, we can illustrate the progress of individual groups within the school; for example, we can demonstrate that SEN students are making as much progress as their peers.

Reading for Pleasure Equals Curriculum Attainment

“If you can read for pleasure and you’re reading challenging books and moving up through the reading bands, you’ll be able to access whatever is on the curriculum.”

The number of students who like to come into the library at break time to carry out Accelerated Reader quizzes has increased. It’s anecdotal evidence, but it does show that they are keen to try to reach the million words read milestones and to move up through the reading bands. There’s now a real drive amongst pupils to become reading millionaires, which is a tangible status symbol among their peers.

Reading for pleasure is obviously the most crucial part because reading is the one absolute predictor of academic achievement. There is a direct correlation between reading and academic success, which is really important.

We expect the boys to read at home every night, and we expect them to be reading out loud to their parents, and for parents to be reading aloud to their children, too. Therefore, we encourage parents to monitor their children’s pronunciation, intonation and expression in order to guide them and help them become proficient readers.

Reading for pleasure is far more important than just reading because it is expected in the curriculum. If pupils read for pleasure and are reading challenging books and moving up through the reading bands, they’ll be able to access whatever is on the curriculum.

Click here to find out how your school can utilise Accelerated Reader to support your reading culture.

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