All Year 7 & 8 students are enrolled in an extended Accelerated Reader programme. Year 7 students will have one hour per fortnight (as part of their English curriculum time) and Year 8 students will have two hours a fortnight (standalone) with the aim of increasing their enjoyment of and engagement with reading.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader is a software tool that assesses a student’s reading level, offers a book level from which students can choose books and then assesses whether a student has completed reading their chosen book by asking a series of questions. The software then gives immediate feedback to students on their success. The Accelerated Reader programme has proved to be very successful in developing students’ reading skills and raising standards in literacy.
The extended programme we have devised has developed the Accelerated Reader format to allow students further opportunities to reflect on their reading habits, preferences and enjoyment through discussion and further activities.
The programme is linked to STAR Testing, a diagnostic reading assessment which gives students a guide Reading Age and Accelerated Reader Book Level to help support them in choosing appropriate tests. In Years 7&8, students will be tested 3 times a year to monitor and support progress.
Each student will have an Accelerated Reader Record Book in which to record their tests, reading, quizzing, targets, progress and reflections. This will be regularly shared with parents/carers.
What are the benefits of this programme?
The principle behind this programme is to promote a lifelong love of reading in every student, regardless of aptitude or ability. It is designed to do the following:
- Make essential reading practice more effective for every student, motivating students to read, and enjoy their reading, through discussion and reflection on their reading;
- Personalise reading practice to each student’s current level and assess students’ reading skills through fun quizzes, allowing teachers to set specific, personalised targets to monitor and maintain progress;
- encourage readers through immediate outcome response, clear success indicators and rewards;
- encourage engagement with texts and retention of learning;
- allow time for students to develop their focus and concentration and improve their reading skills;
- Guide students to selecting an appropriate book – fiction or non-fiction – to read at school and at home;
- Accelerate reading growth (progress).
What can you do to support your child?
Students will also be asked to take their AR Record Book home periodically to discuss their progress on tests, quizzes and targets with their parents.
Parents can log on to the Accelerated Reader Home Connection website to view their child’s quiz results, monitor their progress and find guidance on suitable books to read.
My child prefers non-fiction. Does this matter?
No, there are many non-fiction books in the library which are part of the scheme and were chosen to complement what your child is studying in other curricular areas. Encourage your child to take out books linked to a current topic being studied in another subject. They can then take a quiz on this book during their English lesson.
My child is a reluctant reader. What can I do?
Model reading regularly. Take an interest in what your child is reading. Make sure you have lots of books and magazines around the house and show your child how to access eBooks. Think about swapping the games console for a Kindle or e-reader! Try to incorporate whole family ‘reading time’ into the daily routine.
When should I stop reading to my child?
Never! Listening to others reading aloud encourages children to read with fluency and expression themselves.
How do I know what level my child is?
How do we find a book of the correct level for my child?
Let your child check out the AR Bookfinder website. All they’ll need to know is their book level. If they’re in school, they should look at the coloured spots on the spines of the books then match them up with the charts on the wall in the LRC. Or ask the librarian for help.
My daughter says she can’t find a book she likes. What do you suggest?
First, ask the librarian which the most popular books are for her age and reading ability. Secondly, look at the ‘Recommended Reads’ board in the LRC. These are books recommended by students for students. With thousands of books to choose from, it is very unlikely that there will be nothing of interest to her: it just means she hasn’t found it yet!
Do they have to read books from the school library in order to take the quizzes on the computer?
No, there are over 140,000 books in the programme and this is increasing every day as the latest books become ‘quizzable’.
Does it matter if we choose a book of the wrong level?
This very much depends if your child is enjoying what he or she is reading! If they are, let them carry on. If you see your child struggling, not getting past the first few pages, it might well be too hard for them. Be guided rather than restricted by their book level.
How long should my child be reading each day?
Ideally a minimum of 20 minutes a day for those on green and orange labelled books, to 30 minutes for blue and yellows. Those on reds and purples are probably reading of their own accord so continue to encourage and support!
How else can parents help?
Mainly by ensuring that their children are bringing a reading book to school every day, not just when they have English. Also, remember that reading is an on-going and integral part of their English and Accelerated Reader homework, whether or not it has been written down in the planner! If in doubt, please contact your child’s English/Accelerated Reader teacher.
We hope that your child finds a great deal of pleasure in participating in the Accelerated Reader programme.