At Assumption Senior G.N.S we have been running the Accelerated Reader Programme across the school to focus on boosting the students' literacy and reading comprehension, as well as to foster a life-long love of reading. All of the children take two online tests a year guaging their individual reading level and comprehension. The first test at the start of the year calculates a colour coded reading level for the student, and all of the books in our library have been matched to their appropriate colour code. This way the students can always find books they like without feeling as if they have taken on too much with it, or they can choose more challenging books intentionally. Every time they finish a book they take another online quiz through the Star Reader website. It then calculates how many words they have read and how much new vocabulary they have learned.
Using Star Reader we run competitions for the students, and they get prizes for reading 1000, 25,000 or 1-million words. The teachers can also tailor individual reading goals for each of our students to help encourage anyone who is struggling to get into their reading or to provide bigger challenges and goals to those who are racing through their books! At the end of the year each student takes a second reading ability test to track their progress. Since using the Accelerated Reader Programme we have noticed that students' reading level has typically improved each year by the time they take their second test. We are very happy with the strides our students are making with their reading, and a lot of the girls say their favourite part of the school is the library! Find out more about the Programme below.
Spellings for Me is our newest literacy programme in the school. It is a spelling programme built to acknowledge that no two students are the same and that the most effective teaching recognises this. The system is entirely individualised to each student and provides them with different spelling tests and new spellings to learn, as well as tracking ewach students' progress and providing updates and reports to the teacher to allow them to tailor their help to each student. One of the best parts about Spelling for Me is that it incorporates both digital and written literacy as it has an accompanying student copybook where they practice handwriting their spellings, maintains a tactile and kinesthetic element in learning spellings for our students. Feel free to watch the video below from RTÉ's News2day if you want to learn more about Spelling for Me.
Modern literacy expannds far beyond what it used to. Our students nowdays are required to be technologically literate as well as being able to read and write. That is why our 21st Century Literacy approach focuses on reading, writing, and the ability to navigate the digital world. We aim to do this by encouraging our students to interact with a whole variety of texts and mediums. One of our students' favourite programs to use is our Toontastic app which allows them to animate a variety of their lessons and subjects from languages to creative writing. Whats more, it is a highly intuitive app that really allows students to explore it's wide range of functions, learning about computer animation through play.
We also run coding classes through Scratch to help develop our students' procedural writing skills alongside their digital literacy. The drag and drop coding blocks in Scratch allow students to build a fundamental understanding about how computer code works and how machines read it, without needing to get into the details of writing code themselves just yet. This is an important STEM skill that will really set our students up for a 21st century future where every part of life is becoming more digital and more computer focused. Scratch is also free online and cross-platform so the girls can use it on our iPads, laptops and desktops at school. They can even run their games for the whole class to see on the interactive whiteboards! The students really love our coding classes and it has proven to be an excellent way to encourage their problem solving skills alongside their digital literacy. The video below is a game that one of our 5th class girls made at home after falling in love with Scratch coding in class.