Grenada Schools Developing Lifelong Readers and Learners
By Lynne Marascalco,
GES and GUES Librarian and
Cindy Long, GMS Librarian
All learning starts with reading. It is a skill and, as with every skill, it requires not just instruction, but practice. Grenada School District students in grades K-8 receive this powerful practice through the Renaissance Accelerated Reader program (AR).
This program was begun by classroom teacher Judi Paul in 1984 who wanted to help her own children develop a love of reading. Today, it has grown into a multi-million dollar business and can be found on the NASDAQ exchange, as well as, being known and used internationally. AR encourages substantial differentiated reading practice to create strong readers. Based on each student’s independent reading level, AR helps teachers set personalized goals for each student and select books that are difficult enough to keep students challenged, but not too difficult to cause frustration.
AR offers over 150,000 quizzes. Quizzes are constantly being written for both fiction and nonfiction titles. This program provides teachers with immediate information, helping them monitor the reading level and comprehension skills of each student and informing them of further of instructional needs or intervention. Students and parents get instant feedback to help motivate success with the use of the TOPS Report.
This year the Grenada School District will begin using Accelerated Reader Enterprise, adding to the number of tests available at each school. Students will have access to many more tests and may take a test on any book they have read for which Renaissance has created a test.
GES and GUES Library Info
As part of the Renaissance program, Grenada Elementary and Grenada Upper Elementary Schools offer several programs: STAR Early Literacy, STAR Reading, STAR Math, Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math, Keyboarding skills, and Math Facts in a Flash on NEO2 laptops.
GMS Library Info
The AR program is an excellent tool for parents of our younger students to assist their children with reading. The books in the GES and GUES libraries are color-coded on the spine to designate the books’ levels. Students check out books from the library, read them, and then use computers or laptops in the classroom or the NEO2 laptops in the library to take brief 5-10 question quizzes. The computer scores the students’ reading history by grade level, points earned, % of questions answered correctly, etc. Many teachers will send a report home each nine weeks to show student progress.
In May, students are given incentives from the library with the Reading Olympics system of rewards. Similar to the Olympics, students are awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal based on the top readers in each class according to points earned. A trophy is also awarded to the student with the most points in each grade K-5. These students will be members of the High Point Club and will gather together for a refreshment party.
As part of the Renaissance program, Grenada Middle School offers several programs: STAR Reading, STAR Math, Accelerated Reading (which includes AR quizzing, Vocabulary quizzing, Literacy Skills quizzing), Accelerated Math, and a new part of the program added to GMS this year is Renaissance Home Connect. Home Connect allows parents and students to log in to a web site and view the student’s reading and math practice and progress towards goals. Parents can also sign up to receive automatically generated emails about their student’s progress in reading and math when they take an AR or AM quiz.
AR books in the GMS library are labeled as AR books and have the book level and point values marked inside. Similar to the lower grades, GMS students check out books from the library, read them, and then test in the library or in their English classes. TOPS reports are generated with student’s scores.
Students who reach 85% of their AR goals each nine weeks are rewarded in various ways. Hat days, pizza parties, and a field day at the end of the year are just some of these rewards. Students who become members of the 50, 75, 100, 500 or 1000 point clubs have their names posted in the library. The top three point earners in each grade are recognized and receive rewards at the academic award ceremony in April.
Reading transports curious minds to wondrous realms of the imagination. It determines success not only in the classroom, but in life. Grenada School District hopes to inspire and enthrall students’ imaginations with the power of Accelerated Reader.
Top GMS AR student, earning the most points since the AR program began at GMS in 1996, earning 1,118.4 points!