Accelerated Reader Programme
Here at Richmond Park Academy, we use the Accelerated Reader programme. We are thrilled to have the world’s most widely used reading software that helps raise literacy standards by motivating and supporting students of all levels and abilities.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a reading programme tailored to each individual student, designed to increase the love of reading and in turn, levels of achievement. Scientifically-based research shows that students using AR perform better in all academic areas than students who do not use the software.
It’s very simple for the children to use. All the books in the library (and we have more than 10,000) have an AR level according to the difficulty of sentence structure and vocabulary. A short test at the beginning of Year 7 gives every child his/her precise AR reading level so we know which books are suitable in terms of challenge and stretch for the individual student. Once the student has read a book, they take a quick computer-based quiz. The quizzes are fun and encourage motivation and enjoyment. Crucially, they give us data which allows us, as staff, to monitor the patterns and progress of a child’s reading and to encourage them to explore different texts and genres.
The online quiz provides instant feedback as the program automatically prints out a report showing how well the student has performed.
At Richmond Park Academy, the librarians meet the children regularly to check progress, encourage and keep motivation going to read more and more. Students have a fortnightly English lesson in the library to guarantee time choosing books and addressing any problems.
The benefits of Accelerated Reader that we are excited about are -
- Give students in-class guided independent reading practice needed to become successful readers.
- Inspire the love of reading in all students, including reluctant readers.
- Build students’ self-confidence and develop self-directed learners.
- Guide students to read books at their appropriate level to maximise growth.
- Improve students’ critical-thinking skills.
- Boost students’ performance in all academic areas.
- Improve students’ attendance and reduce discipline problems.
What can students and parents be doing to make the most of Accelerated Reader?
Every child will be given a reading zone which shows them which books to choose from the library. This zone guides them to a book at the correct level - not too easy, not too hard. Parents can check that their child is reading the correct book for their ability.
We give children 15 minutes of reading time at school every day so it is vital that they bring their reading book with them every day. We also ask the children to read for 15 minutes at home each day as a minimum and request that parents encourage this as part of a child’s homework.
Once a child has finished their book, they will need to take a short quiz at school. Asking your child what they have quizzed, looking at the certificate they get each time and having a conversation about reading will all encourage children to read more, quiz more and ultimately increase their reading ages. We have seen huge improvements in reading ages of students who have joined in most with the scheme.
Who is our reading scheme aimed at?
- Reluctant Readers? Definitely! With over 10, 00 books in the library there is plenty of choice and the librarian is always on hand to help students find a good read. We run a clinic after school to help students choose a book away from the glare of their peers and in a relaxed, supportive environment.
- Students with English as an Additional Language? We are certainly very proud of those who successfully participate on the scheme having joined us with very little English.
- Gifted and Talented Students? Yes! The AR scheme grades the difficulty of books on a scale from 1-12. As it is unusual for modern-day children’s literature to be graded higher than level 7, we introduced the ‘Classics Challenge’ to ensure we keep stretching our able readers.
We set children targets to read a certain amount in each half term. This target is reached by earning points of book quizzes the child takes. Each half term every student is given a new target to try and reach and earn rewards for doing so.
We also encourage students to read a million words over the whole school year and join our word millionaire board in the library.