At Loseley we understand that reading opens many doors in life. It is a key life skill that all children have the right to learn to enable them to access the world around them.
Becoming a ‘free reader’ is an exciting time for our children and they love the opportunity to feel that they have a greater choice in the books they can read. However, when children become a ‘free reader’, they often find it tricky to select a book at an appropriate level as they can find the selection suddenly available to them rather daunting. They often choose books that are either much too hard for them or not challenging enough. To ensure that children who are free readers have appropriately matched books, we have secured a large amount of funding to buy into the Accelerated Reader Programme.
Accelerated Reader is designed to help children choose a book tailored to their reading level which they will read at their own pace. The programme benchmarks children’s reading using a half termly online assessment and gives the children a book band (a number) from which they can choose texts appropriate to their age and reading level. When they finish a book, they will take a short online quiz that monitors their progress within their book band. The teacher then uses this to ensure that every child has an appropriate reading book as well as monitor progress.
A huge amount of the funding was used to stock our new library with high quality books matched to the Accelerated Reader Programme. A library stockist worked with Miss Leah to ensure that the books chosen were by both well-known and upcoming children’s authors and that our book selection reflected the diverse society that we live in. We are incredibly lucky to have such a fantastic selection of books.
Each class from Years 2-6 has 20-30 mins of allocated reading time per day (in addition to guided/whole class reading and literacy lessons) where they read their AR books and take the quizzes. The teacher and TA use this time to check in with the children about their reading, hear individual children read and discuss their book choices in order to encourage them to read a range of books.
We have also invested in a web-based library management programme called Libresoft, which the children use to check out their books and check them back in so we know exactly what they have been reading, just like at the ‘real’ library.
We have also bought into an e-Book service called MyON, which is also linked to Accelerated Reader. It is an online e-reading programme where children can access books online. This will enable children at home to access quality books and for teachers to set reading challenges. This will be especially useful in our current climate of ‘blended learning’, enabling us to set reading tasks for children who may be working at home.
We are already seeing the introduction of the programme having a positive impact on our children as readers – they are really excited to read the new books and to take their quizzes. Some of the children have already read over 50,000 words since we began the programme in mid-September, so it is already starting to have a noticeable effect on the amount our children are reading! We know that this is a really positive step in building our Reading Culture at Loseley.