Accelerated Reader

HOW ACCELERATED READER WORKS

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a progress-monitoring software tool that enables schools to monitor the quantity and quality of their students’ reading practice. At the start of each school year, students take a test on either Renaissance Learning’s STAR Early Literacy Enterprise – a norm-referenced test that measures proficiency in early literacy skills – or STAR Reading Enterprise – a norm-referenced test that measures reading comprehension. The STAR assessments provide data on each student’s performance relative to other students across the nation. The STAR assessments are district mandated, and all DPS students take this assessment. Based on the STAR Reading assessment, each child is assigned a reading range referred to as his or her Zone of Proximal Development (“ZPD”). The Zone of Proximal Development is a range of reading levels in which children should select books to read. Reading in their own personal “sweet spot” has been proven to generate the most growth in reading. By reading within their ZPDs, children are assured of encountering healthy reading challenges through new vocabulary, sentence structure, grammar, etc., yet will not become frustrated with material that is above their ability range.

After finishing a book, children go to a school computer and they may take a short comprehension quiz on the book they have just read. Quizzes range between five and twenty questions in length, depending on the length of the book. Each child’s goal is to achieve a score of 90% or higher, as Renaissance Learning’s research shows that to maximize reading growth, one of the most critical factors is maintaining an average of 90% or higher on comprehension quizzes.

HOW BROMWELL TEACHERS ARE USING THESE TOOLS NOW

  • Share AR data with students and print weekly AR Diagnostic Reports.
  • Track and share the class Average Percent Correct (APC) with the whole class (Goal of 90% comprehension)
  • Identify any students who have not completed a book and taken a quiz. Then connect with those students and get them on track to comprehending and enjoying their current or next book.
  • Identify any students testing at a 70% APC level or below, find out what went wrong, and develop strategies as needed.
  • Implement Reading Logs – while these are required by the district, they are also a perfect way for students to keep track of their individual reading data.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO SUPPORT READING AT HOME

  • Encourage reading every day
  • Model reading a variety of materials for fun
  • Visit the local library or bookstore
  • Get familiar with your child’s ZPD and age/level appropriate books by going to ARbookfind.com
  • Help your child self-select books they are interested in reading
  • Sign up for Home Connect to receive AR information on your child’s reading (Your child’s teacher will provide you with the Web address. The same login and password that your child uses at school will work at home. Generally this happens during conferences for grades 2-5)
  • Praise your child for strong comprehension
  • Check online at ARbookfind.com to determine the level of a book your child is considering or to get additional suggestions

BACKGROUND ON CARMEL HILL FUND AND ACCELERATED READER

The Carmel Hill Fund Education Program is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster the love of reading in children by providing educators with the means to improve their students’ reading ability. It’s principal focus is the provision of the Accelerated Reader (“AR”) program (and other associated programs) to partner schools. In addition, Carmel Hill Fund supplies its schools’ classrooms and libraries with books and computers so that children can take AR quizzes easily and efficiently. These systems also motivate students to read a greater quantity of books with more attention to their comprehension of written material, all the while exposing children to new genres and styles of literature.

After much research, the Carmel Hill Fund Education Program’s founder William J. Ruane selected AR as the tool his organization would use to achieve higher levels of reading among students in this project. Carmel Hill has no financial stake in Accelerated Reader Enterprise or its parent company, Renaissance Learning, Inc. In addition to funding Accelerated Reader, The Carmel Hill Fund Education Program supplies its schools with enough high quality literature to support optimal implementation of Accelerated Reader. Books are purchased for school libraries. As children become more enthusiastic readers. Students are encouraged to select books from a wide variety of genres, with a good mix of fiction and nonfiction material. The Carmel Hill Fund staff work in partner schools every day to maintain the technology, guide the implementation of Accelerated Reader, and motivate teachers and students to strive for increasingly effective
reading practice.