Accelerated Reader at Bell Middle/High School
Reading is an important part of our curriculum at Bell Middle/High School. One component of our reading program is Accelerated Reader. Every middle school student and all high school students who have a reading class participate in the Accelerated Reading Program.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer based, reading management and motivational system designed to complement existing classroom literacy programs for grades K-12. AR’s goal is to motivate students to read using a point system.
Students choose books to read from the media center based on their reading ability, their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The student’s ZPD is determined by a standardized computer program called STAR Reading which gives the student a range that is appropriate for his or her personal reading level. All AR books are marked with reading and point levels.
The student reads the book and takes a computerized quiz. Books are assigned a point value based on the number of words contained and reading difficulty. A student reads at his or her own pace and documents when and how much they read using the “Student Reading Log.”
The test gives immediate feedback in terms of the number of points earned based on the point value assigned to the book and the number of correct answers on the test. For example, for a book worth 10 AR points, the student would receive 10 points for a score of 100 percent, 9 points for 90 percent, and so on. However, the student must score at least 60 percent to earn any points.
Each student at Bell is expected to earn a minimum of 20 points every nine weeks. The program presents test scores and points earned, and it keeps records in order to help teachers and parents manage and track a student’s attempt to reach his or her goal.
If a student would like to read a book that is not on the AR program, he may write the test for the book himself. The librarian will then enter the test and determine the reading and point level of the book.
How is Accelerated Reader Aligned with Current Reading Research?
The purpose of AR is not to provide reading instruction. Rather, its purpose is to help motivate students to read more books at an appropriate level of difficulty by using a point system tied to individual goals.
AR seeks to motivate students to read advanced leveled books and to increase their personal reading time. Given the strong empirical relationships between amount of time spent reading and reading growth, as well as significant theoretical support for the idea that practice in reading should lead to stronger reading ability, the goal of AR is consistent with what is currently known about factors that support strong reading growth.
As previously mentioned, students at Bell are expected to earn 20 points each nine weeks. This counts as 20% of their reading grade. Students are given the first 20 minutes of their reading class to take AR tests and to have silent reading time.
Students may take tests only on books their AR teacher has seen them reading during AR time in class. They are encouraged to read at home, but they may not take a test if the teacher has not seen them reading the book in class. If a student fails a test the librarian must remove the test from their record. Students are not allowed to check out a new book until they re-read the book and pass the test.
A student is expected to earn at least 20 points each nine weeks. If the student reads more than 20 points, that’s great, but they don’t carry over. Many students go above and beyond this expectation; at the end of the year, students that have the highest number of AR points will be recognized. If a parent has a question about AR they can contact the reading coach here at the school.
So basically, AR is part of the reading program here at Bell. A student selects a book on his reading level from the media center or public library and reads it at home and during his reading class. Then when he finishes, he takes a quiz on the computer about the book. If he passes, he earns points; if not, he needs to re-read the book and take the quiz again. At the end of each nine weeks a student is expected to earn at least 20 points in AR. This counts as 20% of his reading grade.