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CBA nominated for National Reading Award

Corby Business Academy is one of a handful of schools shortlisted for a national reading award for running the Accelerated Reader Programme, which encourages students to discover a love of books.

Librarian Amy McKay will be representing the school at the glittering awards ceremony in London when Renaissance Learning, the programme’s founder, will announce the winners in both primary and secondary categories from more than 6,000 schools across the country that use the scheme.

Corby Business Academy has been running it for the past nine years and tweaks its prizes and incentives annually to make reading more accessible and fun. They have ensured that all students, regardless of their ability or love of reading, will be eligible for prizes with a comprehensive rewards system.

Amy and Assistant Librarian Christina have also introduced a currency related ‘millionaire’ scheme so students who read a total of 8,000 words can be classed as Bangladeshi millionaires, while super-keen readers will need to read 1,800,000 words to become a millionaire in Bahrain.

Amy said: ‘Accelerated Reader is a programme we use for all of Year 7 and 8 and Unit students where they read a book then do a quiz. The expectation is that they will read for a minimum of half an hour a week in their own time and pass at least one quiz a month. We run a really robust incentive scheme, which is what we have been shortlisted for.

‘We try and appeal to a wide range of personality types so we look at everything from instant gratification to something that you really have to work towards. If students pass a quiz they get a scratchcard with the chance of winning sweets. This has been a great way of helping them improve their targets and push themselves to do as well as they can.

‘Other goals are certificates, raffle tickets with monthly draws and prizes including stationery, mobile phone covers and toiletries for correctly completing five, ten and 15 quizzes respectively. The big thing is the millionaire’s club, which is reading 1000,000 words. Lots of schools do it but we differentiate ours because some students could do it in a couple of weeks if they put their minds to it while others are not going to read a million words in a year, no matter how hard they try and it is not fair that they are excluded.

‘The reward scheme and millionaire’s club means that our whole range of students can take part and aim for rewards along the way. Over the years we have worked really hard to introduce something new. This was the first year we didn’t because we feel like we have perfected it! If we win we would get £500 worth of books which would be lovely as our ‘millionaires’ could help us spend it!’

Renaissance Learning said: ‘The Renaissance Awards are our annual opportunity to celebrate best practice with Renaissance Accelerated Reader and Renaissance Star Reading. The awards recognise the schools across the UK and Ireland that are as passionate about promoting reading to their students as we are, and are using our products make sure their students develop a love of reading.

‘First, we had to find our top-performing schools in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Looking at average reading time, percentages correct on quizzes, and more, we eventually drew up the list. We invited all our shortlisted and winning schools to the awards evening to find out the overall winners!’

The Awards ceremony will take place in Canary Wharf on 29 November. 

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