Literacy accolade for Ballyclare school

Fairview Primary School’s literacy team won the Celebration and Achievement category accolade at this year’s Renaissance Awards.

The winners were announced during a virtual ceremony on December 15.

The Renaissance Awards, now in their sixth year, celebrated the creativity, success and achievement of schools and individuals in reading, assessment and mathematics across the 2020/21 school year.

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Commenting on the prestigious recognition, teacher, Mrs Norris said: “It was such an honour to be recognised for our work in this area, especially as it’s a UK-wide award. As a team, we are exceptionally passionate about inspiring our pupils to read and to enjoy reading.

Fairview Primary School. (Pic Google).

“The Accelerated Reader programme is well established in our school now and is a proven way of getting pupils to read.

“In terms of statistics, we have 90 per cent of our pupils at or above ability (based on NRIT). To have almost all of our pupils at or above ability in reading is a clear indication of the impact AR is having.

“We have revamped our school library this year, maintaining the AR colour code but also introducing sections for popular authors, such as Roald Dahl, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Morpurgo.

“We have also placed a focus on non fiction books, which we have found are popular with the boys, especially those reluctant readers. This has enabled our reading scores to reach such impressive heights.

“Our School Council have organised short book reviews for favourite reads, just a couple of sentences to say why is book is good and to be recommended. These reviews get typed up and stuck to a lollipop stick as the book is on display. Just another way to highlight good reads and stimulate others to choose that book.”

She added: “We stimulate our readers with a number of challenges during the year. Each term, we run a year group challenge, with the three classes in each year group competing against each other to read the most amount of words. All pupils, no matter ability, can play their part. All 100 per cent tests get a sticker for a bookmark. 12 stickers gets a homework pass which is always popular!

“It is not only millionaires we celebrate. Pupils get to visit the prize box for 250k, 500k and 750k word totals. Millionaires get celebrated by having their photo on the Millionaire Club board and also shared on school social media and newsletters. Every one million words read gets a special prize, and the prizes get better with each million, including pizza vouchers and cinema vouchers.

“We introduced a new reading initiative this year called Battle of the Books. This was a huge success and has seen us reach 50 millionaires in one school year for the first time, as well as double digit multi-millionaires for the first time.

“Battle of the Books saw all classes compete against each other with a handicap system in place. Instead of words read, it was all about amount of books read. P4 books all counted as 1, P5 book totals were multiplied by 1.25, P6 book totals were multiplied by 1.5 and P7 book totals were doubled. We recognised our older pupils were reading thicker books, so did not get through as many.

“The engagement was 100 per cent, with every pupil contributing to their class and year group total. In the final standings, P7 won the year group competition and P4B won the class competition. The top three classes got a special treat with a visit from the ice cream van.

“For Christmas we had a special competition where when pupils achieved three times 100 per cent in quizzes they got a prize but they also got to guess the combination code of the safe which had a top secret prize in it.”

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