What is Accelerated Reader?
This reading scheme is offered by international company, Renaissance Place. It is designed to help students to read more frequently and to enhance their understand of what they are reading. They start by taking a STAR reading test which will give them a reading age and a Z.P.D (Zone of Proximal Development). Students then use this Z.P.D to select a book that is appropriate for their ability. For example, a student with a Z.P.D of 4.9 will achieve well if they read books with a Book Level between 4.2 and 4.9. Every time students finish reading a book, they take a 5 or 10 question quiz. This is done online, and every detail of their progress is available to the teacher and parent. Each book is worth a certain number of points and points are accrued if quizzes are passed. Every student has a personalised annual target based on their ability to collect a certain number of points. The STAR test is administered three times a year and new ZPDs issued as students makes progress. In order for Accelerated Reader to work – to ensure that students close any gap in reading attainment, students MUST read for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, every day.
Why Accelerated Reader?
At Brymore Academy we intend to ensure that all students discover the joy of reading for pleasure and that subsequently all are increasing their reading ages. Research shows that those children who read for pleasure perform better academically and are more successful later in life. Research also finds that reading can result in increased empathy, improved relationships with others, reductions in the symptoms of depression and dementia, and improved wellbeing. It also has social benefits and can improve our sense of connectedness to the wider community. Reading also increases our understanding of our own identity and gives us an insight into the world view of others. With that in mind, for several years we have used Accelerated Reader which not only helps motivate children to read, but it also helps them close any gap they may have between their chronological age and their reading age. Accelerated Reader does this by monitoring the reading ages of students and suggests books at the correct level to ensure that they are consistently reading texts that will challenge them and help them to make the progress that they care capable of. Accelerated Reader enables staff to closely monitor student reading habits and progress to ensure that any necessary intervention can be put in place in a timely fashion. Accelerated Reader ultimately allows all students to achieve success with their reading, regardless of if you have a reading age of 5 or 15 – students are rewarded for their progress towards their target.
What happens in school?
Reading is not optional: like farm and garden duties, it is an expectation. As a minimum students need to be reading for 20 minutes a day, including weekends and holidays. Students at key stage 3 have weekly reading lessons where they can enjoy their books and be held to account regarding their progress by their teacher. Students must show that they are frequently and consistently passing quizzes and must show they are making adequate progress towards their annual target. Accelerated Reader does mean that students cannot ‘pretend’ to read. To pass their quizzes, students should aim to take them as soon as they can after finishing reading the book; we ask they try and achieve 85% accuracy to show that they have really engaged with the book and are reading at the correct level. Boarders are also given time to read during prep. Students can take their quizzes during their reading lessons and rooms 4 and 5 are always available during break and lunch for students to quiz.
Rewards and Sanctions:
Reading is heavily rewarded with house points awarded for books finished and quizzes passed. There are also class competitions, and the houses compete for the ‘Reading Cup’ every year – the house which has read the most number or words wins 500 points towards the end of year FOBSA shield. Students can earn annual bronze, silver, gold, or platinum reading badges. Every year students can also compete to become ‘Reading Royalty’ during World Book Month and can earn a special ‘Animal Farm’ badge for being in the top 50 readers across key stage 3. We also run two reward trips each year to recognise those students who have worked hard to stay on track with their target.
Students who aren’t making progress towards their targets will be set weekly targets by their teacher to help them stay on track. If students don’t meet these, they will start to accrue behaviour points for not completing their prep. If we still feel a student needs support to stay on track, they will be expected to attend lunch time reading sessions daily where they will receive the support that they need.
How can you help at home?
- Make sure that your child always has a reading book at an appropriate level.
- Encourage and support your child to read each day for 20 minutes, preferably in a quiet space where there are fewer distractions.
- Make sure that your child is reading over school holidays too.
- Ask how a quiz went. Children can often explain why they have scored less well. Listen and make suggestions on how things can be improved.
- Enjoy books together – research from our students shows that one of the most motivating factors in encouraging those students who perceive themselves to be behind in their reading skills to read is having a trusted adult to talk about their books with.
- Treat them to new books from your local library or a new one to keep.
- Log onto Accelerated Reader and monitor your son’s progress yourself.
- Please don’t push your son to read the next level before they are ready. It’s like going to the gym: you wouldn’t want to start with the biggest weights. Muscles must be built up gradually with increasing practice and reading muscles are improved in a similar way. Students begin to take charge of their choices in a good way and usually they know the best level for them.
- Be positive about the system. If you make them feel that it is wrong in some way, this will undermine their confidence.
Frequently asked questions
Where can my child get a book?
The LRC is open at break and lunch times for students to borrow books. All students also have access to the digital library myOn.
Can my child quiz on the books he has at home?
Log on to www.arbookfind.co.uk to check whether the book is in your child’s level.
Type in the title. If no result is found, then there may not be a quiz yet – there is a tab at the top of the page to request for a new quiz to be written.
What if the book they want to read/have read is a higher level than they are reading now?
If it was a really good book which was enjoyed, then it is OK to take the quiz. Real enjoyment is often a key to good quizzing. However, if the quiz is not a success, then a lesson will have been learnt. If a student really wants to read a book that is significantly above their ZPD it might be a book that you consider reading to them or as a family.
Can children quiz on the internet at home?
Yes, the boys will have access to the same website as they do at school.
Can I still read to and with my child?
Yes. This is wonderful. Not only does your child’s reading benefit but so does your relationship. You sit close together, sharing something. You can talk about topics which are raised. You are also more in tune with what is going on.
If a child has read the majority of the book themselves, it is considered that it has been read independently.
Does the school need any help?
Any donations of books that are supported by Accelerated Reader and that are age appropriate are always gratefully received.
Student AR site: https://ukhosted85.renlearn.co.uk/2259563/
Parent AR site: https://ukhosted85.renlearn.co.uk/2259563/homeconnect/ (your username and password will be the same as your son’s)
AR book finder: https://www.arbookfind.co.uk/UserType.aspx?RedirectURL=%2fdefault.aspx (great for checking book levels and for book lists)
Digital library: https://www.myon.co.uk/login/