A Parent’s Guide to Accelerated Reader
Questions and Answers
Your child will be participating in the Accelerated Reader (AR™) program. This guide is designed to answer your questions about AR. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or visit the Accelerated Reader website at www.renlearn.co.uk.
What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer - passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood what has been read. AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results which the teacher then uses to help the child set targets and ongoing reading practice.
A Sample Quiz Question
Children using AR have a free choice of the books they read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they feel in control and can choose books that are interesting to them.
Staff will help your child choose books that are at an appropriate reading level. These will be challenging without being frustrating and will also be at a level at which your child can pass the quiz and experience success.
If your child does not do well on the quiz, the teacher may assist him/her by:
• Helping choose another book that is more appropriate
• Asking more probing questions as your child reads and before he/she takes a quiz
• Pairing your child with another pupil or even having the book read to your child.
In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they are reading books at their own reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all they learn and grow at their own pace.
How much will my child read during the school day?
According to Renaissance Learning’s research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Therefore, your child should have at least 20 minutes set aside for reading during each school day.
How can I help my child become a better reader?
As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookshop on a regular basis and by letting your child see you reading. When reading with your child stop and ask questions to be sure your child comprehends what they have read and in general make a habit of discussing books that each of you has read.
How does the school determine my child’s reading level?
Teachers determine your child’s reading level in one of three ways: a STAR Reading™ test, a reading age estimation from a standardised test, or by using his/her best professional judgment based on his/her knowledge of your child. For the purpose of Accelerated Reader the reading level will be determined by the STAR Reading™ test. Children will be reassessed every term and their reading level adjusted accordingly.
What is a STAR Reading test?
STAR Reading is a computer based reading assessment program that uses computer-adaptive technology. 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 test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 15 minutes.
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 receive a ZPD range after taking a STAR Reading test. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within his/her ZPD.
My child is not a strong reader. Can he/she still use Accelerated Reader?
In KS1 all children are part of the Read, Write Inc programme to support their phonetic development in reading and writing. As their oral reading fluency develops they will be introduced to Accelerated Reader.
Accelerated Reader helps all children become better readers from pupils with special needs to those who are gifted and talented. When children read books at their appropriate level, they experience success. Furthermore, teachers work with children to set appropriate targets based on each child’s reading level.
How many Accelerated Reader quizzes are there?
There are over 11,000 AR quizzes available and more being written every month.
What kinds of quizzes are there?
Accelerated Reader includes several types of quizzes designed to support the development of several reading skills. Quiz types include:
Reading Practice Quizzes: Are the most common type of assessment in AR. The purpose of these quizzes is to determine whether your child has read a book, to measure his/her literal comprehension of the book and to provide immediate feedback. Each Reading Practice Quiz consists of 5, 10 or 20 multiple-choice questions depending on book level and length.