Lady Joanna Thornhill (Endowed) Primary School
Learning for the Head, Heart and Hand
At Lady Joanna, we use Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader is a computer programme that helps our school to manage and monitor children’s independent reading. Children using AR choose their own book from a range of thousands of published titles. AR helps children to choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating so that your child can experience success.
Accelerated Reader is a widely-used reading system with a proven track record of improving reading progress. It is particularly effective in developing pupils’ understanding of what they read (their comprehension). This is a guide to help parents and carers understand the system and know how they can best support their child’s reading at home.
The first step for pupils is the Star Reader assessment, which is taken 3 times per year at school. This test is taken on our iPads and laptops and the results of the test provide an individualised reading book level, called a Reading Range.
The reading range tells us the book level that your child is able to read and understand comfortably. Each time your child completes a Star Reader Assessment, his or her Reading Range will be updated. This will be recorded in Reading Record Books. For example, 2.6—3.4; this child could choose a book anywhere within this reading range.
Books in our classroom libraries are labelled on the inside cover. For example:
The book level is the difficulty of the text. A book level which is at the lower end of a child’s reading range will be easier and the upper end will be more challenging (but still within their reading capability).
The label also shows the book’s interest level. This is the age-group appropriateness of the content, NOT the reading age. The final decision on whether the content of a book is appropriate for a particular child is left to parents and the school to decide.
LY - Lower Years (ages 5 to 8)
MY - Middle Years (ages 9 to 13)
UY - Upper Years is age 14+)
Children can use the quiz number on the label to find the correct quiz for their book (see Quizzing).
If you have books at home that your child would like to read or you would like to buy a new book, there is a fantastic search facility to find out about the book level.
This will enable you or your child to check that home books are appropriate to their current reading range. There is also a useful ‘AR Bookfinder Parents’ Guide’ on the same web page which is also on our school website in the Key Information, Reading section.
Every time your child has finished reading his or her AR book, they must take a quiz at school using our iPad or computers. Each child has their own log-in and the AR interface is colourful and child-friendly.
The quizzes are multi-choice and are used to assess how well your child understands the book that he or she has read. For this reason, quizzes should be taken less than 48 hours after the child has finished reading the book. Children are not allowed to refer to the book during the quiz.
At the end of the quiz, your child will know their score and be shown the correct answers to any questions answered incorrectly. We have set a quizzing target of at least 85% for all pupils to show a good understanding.
As an incentive to keep reading, we set points targets for each child to work towards every term. Longer books are worth more points than shorter books, but points are NOT based on the book’s difficulty. The points’ value of each book can be found on the label on the inside cover.
Each time your child takes a quiz, they will be awarded points towards their target. Points earned correspond to how many quiz questions that were answered correctly. Progress towards their target is shown as a sunflower…
We celebrate when a child reaches their points target along with 85% accuracy by awarding them a certificate. They also enter a draw and the winning child is rewarded with a reading-based experience for their whole class Children who read a million words will receive a special Word Millionaire badge.
Each child has a ‘Bookshelf’ on their interface which shows all the books that they have quizzed on. They can click on the books to look back at their past quiz results.
AR has a special feature for parents called Home Connect which can be accessed from home via the internet. It allows us to share up-to-the-minute information about your child’s reading progress and we would like to encourage all parents to sign up for this free service.
One of the most useful features of HC is the facility to receive an email showing your child’s latest quiz results. This is a great way for parents (and maybe also grandparents) to be automatically kept up-to-date every time your child takes a quiz on a book that they have read. You have the option of inviting six guests to receive these emails.