The idea behind Hele’s School using Accelerated Reader is simple – practice makes perfect! Accelerated Reader is a computer-aided reading programme tailored to individual abilities; using this programme is helping us to improve literacy levels for all students and we expect to see an average improvement of two years reading age growth in one academic year.
Students are tested using a STAR test to determine their individual reading range, to find a level they are capable of reading independently and then they are asked to read books at an appropriate level. The STAR results give a recommended reading level for each student, expressed as a number. This number range matches the book levels shown on Library books. Students are given information about their reading range, and targets for points to record in their planners. Their progress with Accelerated Reader will also be given in school reports three times a year.
Students have 30 minutes each school day to read books, allowing them time to develop their reading skills. Once a student has finished reading a book, they need to take a quiz to answer questions about the book. The result of book quizzes shows whether they have indeed understood the book and were able to remember what they read. Passing a quiz earns points for the student; each term they have a new individualised target. The quizzes are available on the school computer network but not at home. A quiz may only be tried once; there are no re-takes for Accelerated Reader quizzes.
Students re-take the STAR reading comprehension test three times a year. After all the practice, we expect to see an improvement in their reading abilities. A higher reading ability means the individual will then be asked to read “harder” books, and to reach a more challenging target of points. Setting high standards and encouraging individuals to improve and push themselves is important and helps students become the best they can be.
Top tips for students
Take a book quiz the same day or the day after finishing a book because it’s easy to forget the fine details if you leave it longer.
Challenge yourself to read a wide variety of books to extend your vocabulary. There are both fiction and non-fiction books available to read within Accelerated Reader’s scheme.
Read aloud –it helps ensure you read all the words and helps you if you make a mistake. This is true for older students as well as younger students.
Talk to your friends about what you are reading because telling someone else about it helps you remember the story or the information.