By: Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager, Renaissance UK
As part of my role here at Renaissance, I’m very fortunate to be able to visit schools and spend time in the classroom working with primary teachers to explore exciting new ways that Renaissance Accelerated Reader can be used ‘beyond the norm’. A recent example of this saw us using the Accelerated Reader quizzes as a backdrop to whole class reading. The response was quite simply phenomenal, so I just had to share the approach with other primary schools so you could try it too…
If you already have Accelerated Reader, use a teacher account to conduct the quizzes. Top tip here is that you can leave a quiz open and return to it at a later date (should the children be struggling with attention or time becomes pressured). And if you don’t already have Accelerated Reader, that doesn’t matter. Visit www.takethequiz.co.uk where you can access several quizzes on a range of books – completely free of charge!
If you’ve never used the quizzes to support whole class reading before, choose a book that you and the children are familiar with. The objective is to encourage whole class participation and by choosing a familiar book it should involve even the most hesitant of children.
Read your chosen book the day before you plan to take the quiz and let the children know that you’ll be taking a quiz the next day. As well as preparing them, this also helps to build anticipation and excitement!
Before starting the quiz, do a quick recap. Remind the children that you’re going to take a quiz together as a class and consider reading the last few pages of the book to help get the children ‘in the zone’. This is also a modelling technique which prepares the children for independent quizzing at a later date – as they will start to understand you can only take a quiz if you’ve recently read a book (we’re assessing comprehension not memory, remember)!
If you’ve got a front of class screen, use this to display the quiz content and to focus the children as you move through the quiz. Don’t worry if a screen isn’t available, you can just as easily run from your tablet or laptop as you’ll be physically selecting the responses (and the children don’t need to see the questions). Unlike independent quizzing, each question will be used as a basis for discussion as opposed to moving through at a pace. It’s important to remember that the quiz questions are only designed to provide a structure for unpacking and unpicking the book – as the teacher you can then respond to lines of discussion using the tried and tested five W’s.
The whole class approach requires the children to vote on what they believe to be the correct answer. Divide the class into two groups and ask them to discuss what could be the right answer and justify why other answers couldn’t possibly be correct. At the end of the discussion, ask for a show of hands – with the majority being the response that will be submitted.
Over time, as the children become more comfortable and confident in quizzing, you might also want to consider introducing ability groups and using the approach as part of a guided reading programme. Asking the children to take the book home to read with their parents the night before a group quiz is an excellent way of supporting parental engagement.