Improving literacy skills at Ardlethan Central School - Renaissance (Australia)
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Improving literacy skills at Ardlethan Central School


  • Find a reading program to implement across the school (both primary and secondary levels) to fulfill the NSW government’s focus on improving literacy skills


  • Renaissance Star Reading
  • Renaissance Accelerated Reader


  • Very positive effect on overall improvement in reading
  • Improvement in maths
  • Ability to report on progress

The challenge: a reading program to improve literacy in primary and secondary students

We are a Central School so have children from K-12, and we have been running Star Reading and Accelerated Reader for approximately 13 years.

At the time the NSW government had a big focus on improving literacy and numeracy skills, so our librarian was looking at programs to implement across the school. Luckily, our retired principal was leading on the implementation of Accelerated Reader at a high school in our district and he mentioned the benefits the students at the school were seeing with the Accelerated Reader program. Our librarian went to the school to see how they used the program, and because of Accelerated Reader’s ability to work across students at primary and secondary school ages, decided it would be a good fit for the school to meet our literacy goals.

“Accelerated Reader has had a very positive effect on our overall improvement in reading. We have also seen improvement in maths, as the students aren’t struggling as much to read the questions”

Patricia Fairman, School Administration Officer

Implementation and results

The students start using Star Reading and Accelerated Reader in Year 2 and continue the program through to Year 9. We get our students do a Star Reading test once a term, this allows us to see and track their progress throughout the year. The instant results are easy to use as they can be shown as a graph or with a growth report.

We have made a new section in the library called ‘AR’ where we went through our collection and took the books that we already had in our own library. We have since added to the collection by buying new books in the areas that we lacked, so we have books for every age, reading ability, and interest. Now that Accelerated Reader is set up, it runs quite smoothly.

Each student is given a log on booklet in where they record what they are reading and their ZPD range, then when they do their quiz their results are recorded. This process enables the teacher, parent or anyone else, the ability to monitor what level the student is reading at, how they’ve progressed and the results they have been achieving along the way.

The timetabled Accelerated Reader lessons have shown the students that the school values reading. We have scheduled Accelerated Reader sessions for students to read independently, but the teachers and I also listen to the students read, and at times read some passages to them.


Reporting and rewarding

We use a raffle ticket system of reward which is drawn at the end of each term with a $5 voucher which can be spent at the canteen. We also give a Good Reader ribbon to those students who achieve their targets for the term. We try as much as possible to encourage the children toward any improvement. I know the Primary age students just love watching their flowers grow!

I think all students, whether in Year 2 or Year 9, get a buzz from achieving 100% in their quizzes, they are also pleased to be called out to receive their ribbons for reaching their targets.

Our teachers take the reports from Accelerated Reader into the parent meetings, as it is a great way to explain and show individual student progress. I also encourage the students to take home their TOPS report each term to show the parents/caregivers so that they can see what they have been reading and how many books they have read.

Accelerated Reader has had a very positive effect on our overall improvement, in reading especially, but also with maths, as the students aren’t struggling as much to read the questions.

Patricia Fairman, School Administration Officer
Ardlethan Central School

Ardlethan Central School

Ardlethan Central School is a community school based in New South Wales.

Ardlethan Central School implemented Accelerated Reader 13 years ago, and currently use the programme with students from Year 2 to Year 9.