We want children to see reading not only as a task set by teachers in school but as a pleasurable activity full of drama, enrichment and escapism from the real world! An opportunity for the children to grow their vocabulary, understanding and most of all enjoyment!
As a school, we use Accelerated Reader (AR) to support help motivate the children and ensure that they make good progress in reading. AR is a computing program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice.
The children pick a book, reads it at their own pace and when finished they take a short quiz on the computer. If they pass the quiz, it is a good indicator that they have understood what has been read. The absolute key here, is the understanding- children may be able to physically read the words of almost any book out loud but the quizzes test the understanding/comprehension of the chosen text.
You can view and access a sample quiz by clicking the following link:
This should give you a feel for the types of questions the children are asked. The questions will not only ask the children to recall parts of the text, but also to infer, retrieve and find evidence.
Accelerated Reader FAQs
How does the school determine my child’s reading level?
Teachers determine your child’s reading level in three ways: a STAR Reading test, a reading age estimation from previous assessment scores, or by using his/her best professional judgement based on his/her knowledge of your child.
What is a STAR Reading test?
STAR Reading is a computer based reading assessment program that uses computer adaptive technology. The child is presented with questions, which require a multiple choice answer. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced. The whole test takes approximately 15 minutes and is never an ordeal.
What is a Book Level?
Books are levelled using a nationally recognised readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. The levelling criteria covers such factors as vocabulary, average word length, average sentence length, grammatical complexity etc. – not how long the book is or how many pictures it contains! Normally, books are chosen between a range of levels (the child’s Zone of Proximal Development) recommended for each pupil by STAR Reading.
What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?
In independent literature-based reading, ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will be given a ZPD range after taking a STAR Reading test. It is important for children to read independently with a high degree of comprehension and within his/her ZPD. During the year, as your child progresses in their reading, we would expect this range to change to reflect the improvements that they are making.
Is it OK for my child to read outside of their ZPD?
Just because a child can read the words in a book does not mean the content is appropriate. Many of us could ‘read’ a journal on Astrophysics, but few of us could claim to ‘understand’ or ‘comprehend’ it. This is an important consideration when choosing books with children. Some books have complicated vocabulary, but simple storylines; others might have far simpler vocabulary, but more complex storylines. When choosing a book, it is essential that the child is interested in the book, will enjoy reading it and feel success in having finished it and understood it.
How many AR Quizzes are there?
There are over 12,000 quizzes available and more become available each and every month. Not all books have an available quiz but the vast majority of popular authors/books are covered, together with traditional favourites and many more obscure titles! The school has an extensive book stock. We are always looking to extend our book stock even further, so if you are considering getting rid of any old books that are in a decent state, please consider donating them to the school for us to check the catalogue and use them in classes.
How will I know if a book has an AR quiz?
There are several ways of achieving this. Your child can bring a book into school, log in to the system and search for the quiz. However, a fantastic service is the AR BookFinder, available at www.arbookfind.co.uk which allows you to conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes.