On Friday 2 June the children of Christ the Redeemer Primary School, Lagmore celebrated major success in the Accelerated Reader programme.
Accelerated Reader is a computer-based reading assessment programme that helps teachers manage and monitor children's independent reading practice. Each child selects books pitched at their own level as determined by their STAR reading test result. Having read the book the children take a short quiz on the computer to check their understanding of what they have just read. In doing so they build up points towards a differentiated point’s target.
The 'Master School' award is awarded to top performing schools that have a school-wide average of 25 minutes engaged in daily reading time, whilst 80% or more of students enrolled in classes, have 85% or higher average percent correct on their Reading Practice Quizzes.
In addition to the 'Master School' award, five classes in the school were awarded 'Master Class' status. The 'Master Class' award is given to classes that have met and exceeded the excellence standards recommended for Accelerated Reader, following research-based best practices. Mr Madden, P7 teacher of one of those five classes in the school added, "To be recognised as one of the top performing classes is a remarkable achievement especially considering some of the children were initially reluctant to read. The AR programme has been brilliant for the children and I have seen the children's comprehension levels improve as a result. The children were delighted to finally achieve 'Master Class' status."
In achieving the Master School accolade they became the first school in Northern Ireland to achieve this status this year. Accelerated Reader co-ordinator in the school, Mr Liam O'Hare, said "There are currently over 5000 schools that use the Accelerated Reader programme throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. To be one of only nine schools to achieve this status is a wonderful achievement and testimony to the excellent efforts of the children. The fact that we also have five of the top performing classes is cause for further celebration. More important than that however, is the great improvements we have seen this year in the children's reading ability, comprehension levels and attitude towards reading."
The school also had six children who became 'AR Millionaires' having read over a million words. One of the pupils, Grace Doherty in Primary 7, said "In Primary 5 I didn't really enjoy reading. However, since starting Accelerated Reader I now love reading. Working towards my target and becoming an AR millionaire is brilliant. It definitely helped me achieve the grade I wanted in my transfer test."
The school has also received excellent feedback from parents as demonstrated by the results of a recent survey. One parent explained, "My child was a reluctant reader but in the last year has developed a real love of books and reading. AR has been an excellent resource in developing her vocabulary and comprehension skills."
As part of the celebrations the children enjoyed a range of sports events on the day. The school were also presented with an engraved plaque as a lasting record of their success. To top it off, such has been the success of the programme, the school have also been nominated for the TES English Team of the year awards set to be held in London on Friday 23 June. Mr O'Hare added, “The nomination is based on an analysis we produced on the impact Accelerated Reader has had in our school. The results have been phenomenal and demonstrate the positive impact the programme has had on the reading ability and comprehension levels of the children in Key Stage Two. It has also helped to develop a reading culture within the school and a love of reading amongst so many of the children."