May 6, 2022

Our recent How Kids Are Performing report shows that students at most grade levels are making gains in both reading and math this school year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact student learning, especially in the early grades. This makes it essential for educators to have clear insight into each learner’s needs—along with the right tools and resources to effectively differentiate instruction.

Below, you’ll find a summary of new features in your Renaissance products that support learning recovery this year. You can read more details on our Product Updates Blog, which we invite you to visit regularly for the latest news and information.

Introducing KeyPhonics, built on Science of Reading research

We’re thrilled to announce that KeyPhonics—which is now known as Star Phonics—has joined the Renaissance family! Designed for students in grades 1–6, Star Phonics is the first and only web-based assessment of 12 critical phonics categories and 102 essential phonics skills. You can administer Star Phonics to students either in-person or remotely, and you’ll receive immediate reporting aligned to your district’s reading curriculum.

Star Key Phonics phonics categories

Unlike other phonics assessments that only assess simple patterns, Star Phonics assesses digraphs, blends, vowel teams, contractions, and multi-syllable words. This gives you deep insight into which students are struggling, which phonics skills are secure, and which need more attention. With this information, you can more easily differentiate foundational literacy instruction and provide the right level of support to individual students, groups, classes, and entire grades.

Star Phonics Focus Instruction

Star Phonics can be used in tandem with other Star Assessments, which assess a wide array of reading skills, and with Lalilo, which provides students with fun and engaging practice on phonics, word recognition, fluency, and more. Learn more about what Star Phonics offers by reading our recent interview with Dr. Michelle Hosp, the assessment’s creator.

Accelerating foundational literacy development with Lalilo

Lalilo uses colorful animations, interactive activities, and engaging lessons to help K–2 students develop strong foundational literacy skills. To simplify the login process, you can now provide students with a QR code to access Lalilo either in the classroom or at home. This allows them to access the program quickly so they can continue their learning adventures.

Lalilo also now includes a short training lesson to help students make the most of the program. The training lesson appears after students complete the Lalilo placement test, and you can also assign the lesson to students manually if they need a quick refresher. The lesson shows students the mechanics of completing activities in Lalilo, including sorting, matching, completing sentences, and more.

Note: If you’re not currently using Lalilo, we invite you to learn more about the program and to create a free account to get started.

Providing literacy skills practice with Freckle

Freckle for ELA is an adaptive program that provides K–12 students with practice on grammar, word study, comprehension, and more. To better monitor students’ activity in Freckle, you now have access to detailed session-level reports for the Grammar Skills Practice and Word Study domains. You can see the specific content students worked on (standard or skill) and how they performed.

Freckle Grammar Session report

You can now also preview Word Study assignments and review individual questions, so you can best align practice and instruction. If you’re not familiar with Word Study in Freckle, you can learn more—and see a list of Word Study levels—by clicking here.

You’ll see several additional enhancements in the coming weeks as well. Freckle will soon include a Parts of Speech domain that provides students with practice in an interactive, engaging format. You’ll also find more detailed reporting that shows ELA standards alignment, so you can easily see where students are in their learning journey.

Note: If you’re not currently using Freckle, we invite you to discover how the program fits into your ELA classroom and to create a free account to get started.

Linking directly to myON digital books

You and your students will find a variety of new English and Spanish titles in myON, from Animals of the Amazon Rain Forest to Marie Curie y la radioactividad. Also, Harper Collins has joined the list of add-on publishers’ collections, with titles for early elementary phonics and upper elementary fiction—including decodables.

You can also now link to a myON digital book—or to a specific page within a book—from Nearpod, Google Classroom, or other learning platforms. This allows you to easily incorporate myON books into your lessons to focus on specific skills, vocabulary, or content-area information. It also supports the use of myON across the curriculum, for lessons on science, social studies, history, mathematics, and more.

Motivating independent reading with Accelerated Reader

You and your students will see several new features in Accelerated Reader related to personalized reading goals. Students using the AR Friends K–2 goal model now see how each book they read contributes toward earning a badge. Older students using the traditional model see new guidance and next steps as they work toward their goals.

You’ll now see additional information and color-coded indicators in the Record Book that show whether your students are on track to achieve their goals. You can also see the percentage of the marking period that is complete, as well as the metrics used in the progress-to-goal calculations (e.g., that the student will read for 15 minutes per day).

Accelerated Reader progress monitoring

You now have greater control over managing quiz records as well. This includes the ability to deactivate quizzes and to allow students to retake quizzes, so you can best configure AR to meet local needs.

If you haven’t already, explore the 2022 edition of What Kids Are Reading, which uses data from AR and myON to show you the most popular print and digital books at every grade level. You can also use the online reporting tools to see the most popular books in your state—and to easily create summer reading lists for your students. You can create lists by state, grade level, reading level, fiction/nonfiction, English/Spanish, and more.

Understanding students’ performance and growth with Star Assessments

Star Early Literacy, Star Reading, and Star Math now feature a reimagined version of the Growth Proficiency Chart. A favorite of many teachers and administrators, this interactive report shows you student performance and growth in a single view. This allows you to quickly see which students, classes, and/or schools are performing on the higher and lower ends of the spectrum, so you can direct resources appropriately.

Star Assessments Growth Proficiency Chart

To determine performance, you indicate the specific proficiency benchmark you’d like to use (state, district, or school). Growth is expressed using Student Growth Percentile (SGP) scores. Data is then shown on an easy-to-read graph, helping you determine how students and schools are performing.

Promoting family engagement and communication

A strong home-school connection is a powerful support for student learning. Renaissance Home Connect allows parents and guardians to sign up for email notifications of students’ scores on Star tests and Accelerated Reader quizzes.

Parents and guardians now receive the enhanced Star Family Report with Star Reading and Star Math results. The report uses color-coding and an easy-to-read format to communicate a variety of scores, so families understand a student’s progress and growth. The Star Reading report also includes the student’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) to help families guide students to books for independent and at-home reading.

A brief overview of the report is available in English and in Spanish to help families interpret the scores.

Coming soon: Star CBM Lectura

Star CBM Lectura for grades K–6 is the latest addition to the Star Assessments suite, and will be available for Back-to-School. Designed authentically in Spanish, Star CBM Lectura provides the following measures to help you assess and support emergent bilingual students’ literacy development:

Star CBM Lectura Measure

Like Star CBM Reading, Star CBM Lectura can be administered either on paper or electronically. It can also be used in tandem with the computer-adaptive Star Assessments to gain a detailed picture of students’ reading performance and instructional needs in both Spanish and English. Star CBM Lectura reflects our commitment to supporting biliteracy, and will be a powerful addition to the increasing number of bilingual and dual-language programs across the country.

Supporting learning recovery this summer and throughout the year

If you haven’t already, visit our Summer Learning page for a variety of new resources. You’ll find Student and Family Engagement Kits, Summer School Implementation Guides, Out-of-School Program Tip Sheets, summer funding information, and more. Renaissance’s Dr. Gene Kerns also shares strategies for accelerating learning this summer, whether through formal summer school, high-dosage tutoring, or summer enrichment activities.

Also explore these new resources:

  • Our Reading Challenge Guide, with theme ideas, helpful checklists, and suggested book titles for planning a successful challenge at any level
  • Trip Steps for Reading and Math, which are the most difficult skills for students to learn at each grade level—and a priority for learning recovery
  • How-to webinars, which offer free professional learning on each of your Renaissance products

Visit Product Updates Blog

We hope that you have a safe and restful summer. Also, please visit our Product Updates Blog throughout the year for the latest news and resources.

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