Reading Activities That Successfully Created Reading Culture at Sri KDU
I joined Sri KDU when Renaissance was just established at our school and there was no reading culture back then. Purchasing Renaissance allowed the implementation of a reward reading program where students earn stickers based on word count for prizes. We also introduced the reading passport to encourage students to read 16 books before they turn 16 years old. Reading millionaires will also be presented with a certificate at the end of the year in an extravagant assembly and they love it, which greatly motivates them – just to be called a ‘millionaire’ seems to be a big push for them. We also organise parent forums on Friday mornings to discuss initiatives and involve parents in promoting reading, and to refresh parents on what is Renaissance and how it works.
Can you tell us about your school, and literacy practices prior to implementing Renaissance products?
The library resources were limited, and the designated library hour didn't yield expected results on improving reading culture. Some students who were already readers continued reading during that time, while non-readers would only spend about half an hour in the library, sometimes taking books home without certainty if they were actually being read. This made it challenging for teachers to have meaningful conversations with these students since they couldn't keep track of every book. However, the introduction of quizzes through Renaissance has provided a solution. The quiz questions and answers allowed teachers to engage and assess students' understanding, making it easier to interact with them.
How many of your students use Star Reading/Accelerated Reader? And how long has it been implemented?
It's been implemented for five years. We have around 600 students using it currently. All students have used it at one point or another.
What prompted you to implement Accelerated Reader and Star Assessments?
As an English teacher, and a love for books, I wanted to instil a love of reading in the students, and especially in this world of technology, I don't think students truly grasp how important it is to be able to read. We also observed that students were reading at a very slow pace, which needed improvement as real-world situations often require efficient skimming and comprehension of texts. We identified several gaps in the students' learning that needed to be addressed for their future success and Renaissance was the perfect match for us.
Have Star Reading or Accelerated Reader had an impact on student progress?
Absolutely. We track our students progress through the years. In academic year 2019-2020, which was the second year Renaissance solution was implemented, only 25% of students met their reading targets in secondary school. However, in the following year, the percentage increased significantly to 69%! This improvement was attributed to the implementation of various reading activities. The goal now is to maintain a 70% reading target throughout the year. While the focus is on sustaining this achievement, there is also an emphasis on introducing additional initiatives to further engage and retain students' interest in reading.
Students also love to check their reading progress through their own reading report to find out how many words or books they have read. This gives the students a great sense of achievement and it motivates them to read more!
How would you describe the overall impact AR and Star have had on your school?
We’re satisfied and we can proudly say last year 69% of students have achieved their reading target. Renaissance solution is able to track each student's progress by administering baseline score tests at the beginning of the year. The implementation of milestones, such as word count goals and becoming a ‘millionaire reader’ with rewards, do keep students motivated. Although students will eventually stop using Accelerated Reader due to exams in year 11, they continue to read and engage with books. We believe that the love of reading has been successfully instilled, as students are no longer afraid or intimidated by articles or books. If Renaissance reading program wasn’t in place, I'm not sure that we could have tracked and seen the reading culture progress within our school. And hopefully, this continues for them in life.
Would you recommend Renaissance products?
Absolutely, I would definitely recommend Renaissance Star and AR having used them for five years. Even if I were ever going to go somewhere else, it would be something that I would take with me if it wasn’t already implemented. With the new changes (Renaissance Growth Platform), I'm hoping that it's going to be even more fun for the students.