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How we teach reading at St Katherine's

Our Reading Scheme

Once children have completed the Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics programme, they then move on to our ‘Accelerated Reader’ reading scheme.

What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?

AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. At St Katherine’s the children in Years 2 - 6 use AR.  Children select a book at his/her own level and read it at his/her own pace. When finished, they then take a short quiz on the computer - passing the quiz is an indication that they understood what has been read.

What is a STAR Reading test?

STAR Reading is used to determine your child’s reading level. It is a computer based reading assessment program that uses computer- adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 10 minutes.

 

Children are tested for assessment every half term and book and book levels are then adjusted using the test results.

 

What is a Book Level?

Book Levels are reported using the ATOS readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. The levels range from 0.5–13.5. Books are chosen based on the ZPD range (see below) recommended for each pupil by STAR Reading. The ATOS Readability Formula is one of the most widely used measures for judging the difficult level of text. The product of extensive research, the formula employs several unique features:

  • Takes into account characteristics that most heavily influence readability (average sentence length, average word length, and word difficulty level)
  • Utilises a graded vocabulary list number more than 100,000 words
  • Bases analyses on world’s largest database of words from actual books (more than 170,000 books comprising nearly 2.5 billion words)

 

What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?

ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD, or reading range after taking a STAR Reading test. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within his/her ZPD.

 

What are points?

Every book that has an AR Reading Practice Quiz is given a points value. AR points are based on the length of the book (number of words). Pupils earn a percentage of points according to how well they pass the quiz.

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