What is the Accelerated Reader (AR) programme?
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a product provided by a company called Renaissance Learning. It is a computer based programme that helps support children’s reading and their teacher’s monitoring of their reading. It is usually started when children reach a higher level of independent reading which usually happens in P4. It can of course start earlier or later depending on progress. Your child will pick a library book in class according to their reading ability and when finished will complete a short online quiz on the book. This will help to assess their comprehension or understanding of the book. This information then helps the teacher assess their reading progress and to decide how to help them progress further. The reading books selected by the children are within a selected group therefore you can be confident that the books that they read are at an appropriate level for them. We have also recently stocked up on AR books in our group novel selections. This means that your son/ daughter's reading book will usually also be an AR book which they can be quizzed on.
How much will my child read during the day?
According to Renaissance Learning’s research children who read at least 20 minutes per day see the greatest reading gains. In school we will set aside between 20 and 30 minutes of silent reading every day for those pupils involved in the programme.
Should my child read AR books at home?
The answer is most definitely yes. Some of the books that your child reads will not be completed during the reading time in school. Encouraging them to read while at home will help them improve further. As mentioned above most of your child’s reading books will also be AR books. You will be able to tell if they are as they will have a white label inside the cover detailing the level of the book etc (see below).
How did the school decide on my child’s reading level?
We combine a mixture of measures including teacher judgement and internal reading assessments. All children involved also complete an AR STAR Reading Assessment at the beginning of the programme and at various stages throughout. STAR Reading Assessment is a standardised assessment tool which means we can measure pupil progress across a large number of pupils.
What is a STAR Reading Assessment?
STAR Reading is a computer based reading programme that uses computer adaptive technology. This means that it adapts to your child’s responses when answering questions to help determine the appropriate level for them. If the child’s answer is correct it will ask them harder questions while asking easier questions if they find the questions difficult until they arrive at a suitable level for them.
What is a ZPD?
ZPD stands for Zone of Proximal Development. A ZPD is simply the range of books that a pupil will read within. They are carefully selected to appropriately challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation with their reading. The ZPD is identified after the children sit the STAR Reading Assessment. This range will change according to a child’s reading progress.
My child’s book has a coloured sticker on the spine and a white sticker on the inside cover. What do they mean?
The coloured sticker indicates the Book Range that the child is reading within. The inside sticker provides a variety of information about the book. The information most useful to parents is the ATOS Book Level and the points available to the reader when he/ she finish the book (see below).
What is an ATOS Book Level?
A book level represents the difficulty of the text. There are 6 levels in total and they range from 0.0-1.9 through to 6.0+.
My child tells me that they are earning reading "Points”, watching their "Word Count” grow and acheiving "Above 85%" in their online tests. Can you explain?
Every time a child reads a book and successfully completes an online quiz they will receive the allocated points for the book. The points can be found on the sticker on the inside of the book. AR points are based on the difficulty and the length of the book. The reference to 85% is the average level at which a child needs to pass their quizzes to make the greatest progress. The word count is the overall number of words a child has read to date. All three are used in school to reward children for their reading efforts.
Will my child still read books in their class reading group?
Your child will still continue with their normal reading in class within their reading group. AR books from the school library are additional reading material. However as mentioned above most of your child's reading books will also be AR books.
My child has told me that they complete Accelerated Reader quizzes in class. Can they do them at home?
The quizzes are completed in school. Quizzing does not happen at home.
How will I know how well my child is doing with the programme?
We will update you on your child’s progress in a variety of ways. We will speak to you about their progress at our Annual Parent/ Teacher meeting during the 1st term. We will also send you home paper printouts of their progress from time to time. These are called TOPS reports. You can also check on your child’s progress yourself by signing up to the AR Renaissance Home Connect service (see below). Of course you are also able to discuss any aspect of your child’s progress in school throughout the year by contacting the class teacher for an appointment.
Can I supply Accelerated Reader books for my child?
If you wish you can purchase AR Reading books for your child. This is at your own discretion and while purchasing additional reading books for your child is to be encouraged we can assure you that significant investment in school means that we have more than enough AR books to keep them busy during the year. If you wish to check if a book you are going to buy is an AR Book you can use the guide found at:
Renaissance Home Connect
Renaissance Home Connect is a service which helps you to keep up to date with your child’s progress. It enables you to see the books they have read, check on their progress with the quizzes and to sign up for the e. mailed results service. This means that every time your child completes a quiz you will automatically receive an e. mail with the result. We forward information to parents detailing how to sign up for the Home Connect service.