A Guide for Parents
- What is Accelerated Reader?
- How to get the most out of Accelerated Reader
- Top tips for choosing a book
- How can you help with Accelerated Reader at home?
- The value of reading at home
The information provided below aims to explain how Stokeinteignhead Primary School uses Accelerated Reader to help children become confident and successful readers, as well as give information about what you can do at home to help support your child with their reading.
‘Reading can make an enormous difference to the success of each individual child. Research states that reading for pleasure was one of the most important indicators of future success.’
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader is a computer program which:
- Tests the children in order to determine an individual reading range which supports the development of specific reading skills, especially reading comprehension
- Accurately codes the books, giving them a book level which is based on, amongst other things: word length and complexity, vocabulary, sentence length and complexity, and book length
- Provides book quizzes which test the extent to which a child has understood the book they have read. The quiz results are logged over time and will indicate the children’s progress, success rate and whether they are ready to extend their reading range
- Motivates children to focus on what they are reading, encouraging them to read regularly for meaning, so that they are able to score highly on the comprehension quizzes
- Allows staff members to monitor and guide each child’s independent reading choices more thoroughly, enabling them to target individual pupil’s needs more effectively
- Promotes the reading culture within a class and school, encouraging regular reading habits in a supportive and motivating way
How to get the most out of Accelerated Reader
The following sets out the expectations of each child involved in using Accelerated Reader, in order to get the most out of it.
- Reading books must be brought to school every day. There will be a timetabled reading slot (20 minutes minimum) every day throughout the term, even if they have been reading their book at home (which we encourage). It is hugely inconvenient if a child forgets their book, so please encourage them to remember it on a daily basis.
- Statistics show that children who are most successful at improving their reading ability are those who read for at least 20 minutes every day. Whilst we will be providing this opportunity for them at school, where possible, children should also be reading for at least 20 minutes each day at home.
- Pupils should be encouraged to select the majority of their books from within their reading range. However, children should not be discouraged from occasionally reading books they show an interest in, even if they are slightly above or below their reading range. There is an opportunity for children to take quizzes on books which have been either read to them or read with them (where the reading has been shared).
- Quizzes for a completed book should be taken within 24-48 hours of finishing the book. Any longer than this and the quiz becomes a test of memory, rather than a test of understanding. For longer books, which may take a longer period of time to read, we will be showing children how to keep track of the book using memory-jogger techniques.
- The challenge is to get at least 85% in each quiz. This indicates a true comprehension of the text read. Consistently higher scores than this, may indicate that the books being read are too easy and that it may be time for a child to extend their reading range. Scores which are lower than this, will indicate there is some kind of problem. Members of staff will help support the child to identify where the problem lies.
- Children will receive incentives throughout the term and awards at the end of a term, reflecting their effort and achievement. Children will see a visual representation of their progress towards their targets. Individual targets are based on the percentage achieved in the quizzes and points they accrue in completing a quiz
Top Tips for Choosing a Book
It can be tricky to decide which book to read sometimes, but there are some simple steps you can follow to make it a little easier to make a choice.
- First, decide where in your reading range you are going to choose a book from. Are you going to aim for a trickier book from the higher end of your reading range or are you going to try something a little easier? Try to read a wide variety of book levels from your reading range.
- Take the book off the shelf and look at the cover. Does it interest you? Does it grab your attention? Do you like the style of the illustrations or the font type used for the lettering?
- Turn the book over and read the book ‘blurb’ on the back cover. This gives you a summary of the story and hints at some of the things that might happen. Sometimes they end the blurb with a cliff-hanger…do you want to read the book to find out what happens? If the answer to this question is ‘yes’, this might be a good choice for you.
- Have a flick through the book. Are there any pages which grab your attention? Are you looking for a book with pictures? If the book has pictures, do you want to look at them? Do you like the style of the illustration?
- Read the first paragraph or page. This will give you an idea of the style of the writing. Do you understand what has been written? Do you like the way the writing ‘sounds’ as you read it? Does it have a dramatic opening that pulls you into the story straight away? Is it funny? Do you find some of the words too difficult this time?
- Ask someone else if they have read the book. A book recommendation is a great way of finding a book. Ask someone else what they think about your choice.
- Find another book in your reading range by the same author. If you enjoyed one story by the author, there’s a very good chance you will enjoy another one.
Try NOT to:
Choose a book based on how long or thick it is. A thick book does not always indicate a good story or a good book.
Choose a book because it is easy and because you might score a higher mark in the quiz. If it is a shorter book that is at a simpler level, there is a good chance it will not be worth very many points. Remember to think about all your reading targets.
Choose a book without thinking or asking yourself whether or not you might enjoy it.
How can you help with Accelerated Reader at home?
The following are things you can do at home in order to help and encourage your child to make progress with their reading:
Ensure your child has their reading folder, containing their Reading Diary, Reading Track bookmark and reading book, in their bag every day
Read to, read with or listen to your child reading their book as often as possible (a minimum of 10 minutes every day is recommended)
Help the children with difficult pronunciations and check their understanding of individual words. Keep a dictionary handy so that the meaning of new vocabulary can be clarified. This will help to extend their vocabulary.
Talk to your child about the book they are reading. Can they tell you who the main characters are and what they are like? Can they tell you about the main aspects of the book? Can they say what they like or dislike about the book?
Make sure that your child has kept their Reading Diary up to date. Have they recorded the book they are reading?
Make a comment in your child’s Reading Diary. Did they struggle with anything? Did they read well? Did they surprise you in anyway? Were they able to talk about their book?
It is especially useful if you can note down when you have shared the reading with your child, read a book to them or whether they have read to you independently. All of these are fine, but will impact on their performance in the quiz. It is helpful for the teaching staff to have as much information as possible about your child’s reading habits at home.
Let your child see you reading for pleasure and enjoying a book, magazine or newspaper. Talk to them about your book. Another suggestion might be that you read the same book as your child, so that you can discuss the book in the way that you might at a ‘book club’.
The value of reading at home
Family involvement with reading is extremely valuable.
Many people, when asked where they learnt to read, will tell you that they learnt to read at home with their parents. Any reading you can do at home, in addition to the reading skills taught in school, can only serve to support the development of your child