Establishing a reading strategy during Covid
At the time we started looking at Star and myON, it was slightly pre-covid so having the platform in place during the Spanish lockdown was a great resource for us because we knew that the children were reading, we knew what they were reading and when we came back to school in September, we were able to very promptly set up a reading assessment, track their reading ages and see the progress that they were making.
The other key benefit of the platform that we've experienced was that, through looking at the gaps in the children's reading we were able to group them accordingly and then plan for further success with those types of interventions, so grouping children specifically targeting where their gaps are and then looking at the progress and reading from using those tools.
Screening and monitoring student progress
We very much like the graphs at the end of the reports, which tell us the children who are meeting or exceeding their reading level and those children who are a concern and it's been able to allow us to monitor the progress between those three bandings.
Teachers have used it within their lessons to specifically target certain children and it's given the children the chance to read and write a wider variety of texts as well.
Introducing myON news
One of the things we're introducing next school year is myON news which we're very excited about because, this will link very much with our topic based and thematic approach to learning and will allow us to enable children to become more globally and internationally aware.
It will support their speaking and listening, because not only do we want to use the Renaissance tools for reading, but actually for the children to carry out research for their topic work and become more aware of things that are going on in terms of the news.
myON as a classroom-based resource
Our year three teachers use myON a great deal for their guided reading. It's a platform that we will continue to use. With the ability now to transition back into ‘real books’ we certainly don't intend to phase out that online reading capability, it's something that allows us to very easily differentiate and pinpoint children's exact levels.
There are a wide variety of texts that the children can access. It allows children to monitor where they are in their reading also, how much they're reading and so it gives us a great deal of flexibility, but we are looking forward to combining the two.
Nurturing independent reading skills with myON
myON is very helpful for the children, they can choose to turn on the audio and have someone read the story or text out to them and we’ve been training the children on using the dictionary tool.
We've seen massive success with children being able to independently read the text, realise there is words that they are not sure how to use and they can simply click on the dictionary to find the definition but also to find examples of how that word is used in sentences.
They also really enjoy using the journal tool, where you can copy parts of the text and store it in the notebook. When they're doing a piece of writing, a project or presentation, they can look back at all the quotations that they've copied down and it's especially good to start that in primary schools where they can develop skills in how to find information and provide direct quotations from a text. This has been particularly helpful in the development of our reading and also the development of our independent research and work across the curriculum.
Using Star Assessments to monitor performance throughout the year
We aim to do Star Assessments every term. However, teachers can use them if they need to within that time. We've got an assessment week before we write a report at the end of each term.
In the assessing week every class gets their children to sit a Star test that the teachers can use and then some children might be asked to re-take the test.
Interpreting data from Star to analyse results
The teachers find the diagnostic report useful when it comes to assessing the children, writing their reports, and in parent meetings to have something concrete to refer back to, talking about specific skills the children have done well and also which ones they need more support with.
We've also looked at the screening report so we can look at the whole year group and see how many children are performing above, how many are on watch and how many require urgent intervention.
It's been really useful as English leader being able to look at that across the school, see where areas of concern are and also just to compare at the end of the first time and at the end of the second term after Easter to see what progress has been made and how those numbers have changed between.
I also find the growth report really useful - being able to see the reading age across the class or across a year group and actually see how many children have really improved their reading age so clearly. Students may not necessarily have developed from an intervention to being where they should be, but you can see that they've made progress within the level that they're working on.
Impact of myON and Star on the schools reading culture
Initially, we got myON and Star because we were looking for a test that would give an external measure of where a child was working, give us a reading age for a child, and to be able to compare that data across year groups.
We've definitely seen that it's been a real motivator we've got the display in our library of how many minutes children have been reading on myON each month and which class are reading the most and we find that really helpful in promoting reading and encouraging students to log on and read a little bit.
Success with Renaissance solutions for both teachers and students
It's been helpful for teachers to use, not just as a as a resource in guided reading lessons but as a resource to use across the curriculum.
We have a massive, based curriculum so it's important to us that we can use resources like that and encourage reading independently in our topic lessons such as, Science etc.
It can also be set as homework for students giving them a bit of guidance but letting them have that bit of independence.