LONDON, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Renaissance Learning, together with its AlphaSmart division, is proud to launch the 'STARS for Africa' fundraising event that is aiming to help pupils of all abilities in both the UK and Africa.

By simply 'donating' as little as 10 minutes of a pupil's time in the UK, schools that use the Accelerated Reader Advantage program can do their bit to help a school in Africa become the proud owners of a NEO by AlphaSmart, the favourite classroom writing tool for many UK schools. For every 2,000 STAR Reading tests taken between 22nd and 26th June 2009, Renaissance Learning will donate a NEO to a school in Africa. Simple to use and highly compatible, the NEO offers over 700 hours battery-life from just three standard AA batteries, an extremely robust design, and is at home both in and out of the classroom.

In addition to helping pupils in Africa, those in the UK will also benefit from taking part in this event as every STAR Reading test completed provides an accurate estimated reading age and National Curriculum level in reading for each pupil. Furthermore, it also determines their Zone of Proximal Development for use with Accelerated Reader, which offers daily progress-monitoring and provides the reading practice component that is essential to any reading curriculum.

Dirk Foch, Managing Director of Renaissance Learning UK Ltd, comments:

The 'STARS for Africa' event is an excellent opportunity for UK schools to assess their pupils' standards of literacy, whilst also benefiting schools in Africa. With over 250,000 pupils in the UK registered to use STAR Reading, a lot of free NEO's could be made available to African schools.

About Renaissance Learning UK Limited

A subsidiary of Renaissance Learning Inc, a company founded in Wisconsin (USA) in 1986. Renaissance Learning UK Ltd is a leading provider of educational solutions to primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom.

Adopted by more than 75,000 schools worldwide and used by over 250,000 children in the UK everyday, Renaissance Learning software provides teachers and pupils with immediate access to information on academic performance. The Accelerated Reader Advantage and Accelerated Maths Advantage programs provide timely and reliable feedback that enhances individualised instruction, creating a better learning environment for more motivated pupils.

Renaissance works closely with the National Literacy Trust, the National Education Trust and Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, and is supported by best-selling authors for children, such as Malorie Blackman, Peter J Murray and GP Taylor.

About NEO from AlphaSmart

NEO provides low-cost, simple and trouble-free computing. With over 700 hours battery-life and an extremely robust design, the portable note-takers can be found working in classrooms and on field-trips worldwide, everyday. NEO is also frequently the portable word-processor of choice by many writing professionals, including journalists and authors. NEO 2 offers full wireless voting and assessment functionality, printing, Google Docs and Accelerated Reader compatibility. The recently launched 'Text2Speech' add-on device 'gives writing a voice', and is designed to help children with specific learning difficulties with their writing.

For further press enquiries, please contact Gareth Andrews, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4074, email, or Nicki Walker, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4071, email, website:

For further press enquiries, please contact Gareth Andrews, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4074, email, or Nicki Walker, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4071, email