The School uses the Accelerated Reader programme to improve literacy through reading. It is split into 2 parts:
All students on entry, take a Star Reading test. This tells us the starting point for the individual reader. It works intuitively by changing the questions according to the success rate achieved. The information we get back includes:
- National Curriculum reading level
- ZPD - essentially, a book range that corresponds to numbers printed on all our library books from 0.1 upwards.
- Reading age in years and months.
How do we use this information?
- The National Curriculum level and Reading Age are used by all teaching staff. It tells us how well a student will be able to access the teaching materials at keystage 3 and 4 as follows:
|Recommended Reading Age||Keystage 3||Keystage 4|
|In Years and Months||9 years 6 months||10 years 3 months|
- ZPD - this is individual to each student depending on their reading ability and changes as students' reading improves, eg, a ZPD book range might look like this: 2.7-4.7 meaning that the student could choose any book within that range ... 2.7, 2.8, 2.9,3.0, 3.1, etc. They generally start at the lower end and work their way up.
Students are then tested 4 times per year (in total), usually in October, January, April and June, except for year 7 who will have their first test during September.
Once completed, each tutor gets an individual diagnostic report for every student in their group. This information is also available to all staff. The report provides the information above, plus a general section on how to improve reading (this is also useful for parents helping their children at home), and a section specifically designed to improve reading through individualised guidance on using Accelerated Reader with the student.
Once tested, students can select any book from the library which is within their ZPD book range. After they have read the book, they take an on-line quiz which checks understanding. They have to score at least 85% to pass the quiz, and although these are multiple choice, experience tells us that it is impossible to pass consecutive quizzes simply by guessing. Once the students are comfortably passing quizzes at the same book level, their teacher will advise them to move up to a new level.
Book are graded:
LY - lower years - suitable for younger students
MY - middle years - suitable for KS3 readers
UY - upper years - suitable for KS4 readers
These broad bands enable students to choose books that have content more suited to their emotional maturity.
Staff obtain reports on books read/quizzes taken (including success rates). This enables tutors to ensure students are choosing books at the right level and continuing to be successful in reading.