I walked into a class of 11/12 year olds this week and saw something quite special.
It was during my visit to Sanderson’s Wynd Primary School in Tranent where I saw a whole class actively engaged in personal reading. I know it sounds a bit oxymoronic – but they were definitely actively engaged in reading! – boys as well as girls.
They were all reading different books which they had choosen for themselves and which were obviously pitched at their own level.
So what was the secret? The teacher Lynne Welsh explained that they were using the Accelerated Reader scheme.
Now in my career I’ve come across lots of schemes and software driven systems which make great claims for improving learning – but rarely have I ever seen kids so motivated to read. The idea is remarkably simple – but that’s probably the secret. It wroks as follows:
|1.||Student Reads a Book. Students choose books at their appropriate reading levels and read them at their own pace.|
|2.||Student Takes a Quiz. Accelerated Reader Enterprise offers more than 100,000 quizzes to help you motivate and monitor increased reading practice.|
|3.||You Get Information. You get immediate information feedback on the reading and vocabulary progress of each student.|
The system provides a level for every book and by working out the reading level for each child recommends the most appropriate level for each child. The child then selects a book from that level – reads the book, then takes a quiz to test their comprehension. The teacher can then work out the next level – tying the whole process to the zone of proximal development i.e. stretching the child by an appropriate amount.
Apparently the system is being used in all Tranent Primary schools and the early years of secondary school. I’m looking forward to finding out more but from what I saw yesterday it certainly seems to work.
Now I suppose the question is why didn’t Im know about this as Head of Education? – well that’s my fault but at least my classroom visits are helping me to learn about such schemes and possibly share that practice across the authority.