At St. Peter’s, we use Accelerated Reader as our whole school reading scheme. We have used this system for over a year and the results have been very impressive. We chose this system because we believe that children become more enthusiastic readers if they get regular feedback and can choose texts that interest and excite them, yet are at the appropriate level.
What is Accelerated Reader?
AR is a powerful tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice. With AR, teachers can create a reading programme to meet the needs of every student.
Using information generated by the software, teachers can help students select books that are difficult enough to keep them challenged, but not too difficult to cause frustration. In addition, it helps teachers to monitor students’ vocabulary growth, literacy skills development and reading skills taught through other reading schemes.
- Develop a lifelong love of reading in your students
- Motivate students of all ages to read more, suitably challenging, books
- Raise literacy standards for students of all ages and abilities
- Access instant reporting on each student’s progress and diagnose problems
- Demonstrate value from Pupil Premium allocation
How does it work?
The first step is taking a Star test. This gives children a selection of 34 reading challenges that are set at their individual ability. After this test, the teacher can review the child’s national curriculum level, reading age and the level of book that they should be reading.
Next, the children are allowed to select a reading book within their level. The books can be home books or school books and a simple search on www.arbookfind.co.uk allows children to find out what level the book that they want to read is.
After the child has read the book, they log on to their personalised account in school. They enter the title of the book and the computer will ask a series of questions that have been written about that particular test so that teachers can find out how well the child understood the text. The emphasis is placed upon ensuring that the children are understanding the book and enjoying what they read, not just reading to get through as many books as possible.
What happens next?
When the child has completed the quiz, they can select a new book. If they got 100% of the answers correct, they move up to the next book level. If they got 80% they choose a book at the same level. If they got less than 80%, they move back a level. Over time, all children will move forward, backwards and plateau as they develop the full range of skills required to be a well equipped reader. This is a rule of thumb and as always, teachers use their discretion to move children up and down the points scale as needed. If you are at all concerned about your child’s reading progress or how AR works, our door is always open, pop in for a chat!
What if my child goes backwards?
It is quite normal for a child to move up, move down or plateau on the points scale; this does not mean that they are ‘going backwards’ in their reading learning; it means that they simply need to read a wider range of books that challenge them in different ways so that they can make good progress.
Why have we invested in this?
We have chosen to use accelerated reader because we believe that children should have a wide selection of texts that they can read which interest them. AR allows teachers to get a thorough understanding of where the child is at, how they can be helped to improve and how best to challenge the child. Every child is able to achieve at a level and pace that suits their individual needs.
Which books can our children read?
Almost any! Most books are on AR and to be sure, they can go to www.arbookfind.co.uk to check. If a child wants to read a book that isn’t on AR, that’s fine too.
My child has gone back a book level. Should I be worried?
Not at all. When you consider the wide range of skills that we need to read all of the different types of texts, it is only natural that they develop these skills over time. For example, a child may be great when reading fiction books, but when it comes to non-fiction books, they are less successful. AR allows teachers to pin-point these areas of concern and address them. Often, a child moving backwards simply shows that they didn’t enjoy that book as much as another. Over time, they will move in the right direction and more importantly, AR allows teachers to intervene when they don’t make the progress that is hoped for.
How can I monitor my child’s progress?
Each child is allocated an individual log-on for HomeConnect. This allows parents to log on and see how well their child is doing, which books they have read and how close they are to reaching their target. HomeConnect log-ins will be sent home every September. If you loose yours, don’t worry, send us an email and we can re-send it to you!
If you need more information about Accelerated Reader, please read the guide for parents below. If something doesn’t make sense, please speak to Mrs Sharman as she will be happy to explain anything whilst we make the transition onto this new system.