Once children have graduated from Read Write Inc phonics (RWI) instruction, they transition to Reading Skills lessons and begin to choose Accelerated Reader levelled books, after completing Star Reader tests, which determine the correct level a child should be reading at in order to make progression at the right level.
WHAT IS ACCELERATED READER?
Accelerated Reader (AR) is part of the Renaissance Reading software package used by the school to encourage and improve reading, measure growth of the individual reader and to provide quality reading for all. It allows for personalised learning targets to be set up and for progress to be easily monitored.
Your child will choose a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, they will take a short quiz on the computer. Passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood the book.
AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
AR is used as part of a comprehensive reading provision in place at St Bartholomew's Church of England Academy Primary School. While we continue to teach the skills of reading in 'Reading Skills' lessons on a daily basis, the AR books chosen by your child will provide them with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have developed.
Pupils using AR are encouraged to progress at their own pace and they have personalised targets based on their reading ability. The aim of AR is for all children to succeed in achieving their targets.
WHAT ARE STAR READNG TESTS?
Every child taking part in AR will complete a STAR reading test at the beginning of each term.
The test is a twenty minute multiple choice reading assessment completed individually on the computer. Questions continually adjust to a child’s responses: if their response is correct, the difficulty level is increased; if they miss a question or give an incorrect answer, the difficulty level is reduced.
The STAR reading test, along with teacher judgement assists in identifying a child’s ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) range.
WHAT IS A ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT(ZPD)?
After a child takes a STAR reading test, the teacher will assess the results and give them a ZPD reading range. The range aims to challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Children who are reading below a 2.0 level will continue to have access to books, which are suitable to their reading level.
WHAT BOOKS CAN A CHILD READ?
Our school uses a colour coded system , which is linked to the ZPD levels within 'Accelerated Reader'. All children are made aware of their ZPD reading level and stickers are placed in their reading records after a 'Star Reader' test, which shows their username and password to access the quizzes at school and their ZPD range.
ACCELERATED READER LEVELS:
Green 0.0 – 1.9 Yellow 4.0 - 4.9
Orange 2.0 - 2.9 Red 5.0 - 5.9
Blue 3.0 - 3.9 Black 6.0 +
Children know their range/colour and the books they should be choosing. A ZPD can change throughout the year based on STAR reading tests, professional judgement and quiz results.
To ensure children experience success from the outset they begin each year by taking books at the lower end of their ZPD range.
Each book in school has a personalised label on the inside cover which shows important AR information. This is an example of a book label.
B.L. = book level.
Children use their ZPD range to decide which books are appropriate for them to read. A child with a ZPD range of 2.8 – 4.0 would be able to read ‘Air Raid’ (example label) and it will be slightly challenging for them as it is towards the top end of their ZPD range.
Points = points value based on the difficulty of the book and the number of words.
LY/MY/UY = Lower Years, Middle years, Upper Years interest level
Lower Years – books for children aged 5 – 8 years old
Middle Years – books for children aged 9 – 13 years old
Upper Years – books for children aged 14 and above.
Just because a child can read the words in a book does not mean the content is appropriate. The interest level of the material is also considered.
WHAT ARE THE AR QUIZZES?
When a child has finished reading a book they will be given time to take a quiz independently on the computer. We aim for all quizzes to be taken within 48 hours of finishing a book.
There are two main types of quizzes your child will take:
- Reading Practice Quizzes. These are the most common type of assessment. The purpose is to determine whether a child has read a book, measure a child’s literal comprehension of the book and provide immediate feedback. Each quiz consists of 3, 5, 10 or 20 multiple-choice questions depending on the book level and length.
- Vocabulary Practice Quizzes. These measure a child’s command or vocabulary words encountered while reading. They are designed to reinforce vocabulary acquisition, assist with individualising vocabulary instruction and generate a child’s interest in words through authentic, in-context literature experiences. Quizzes include 5, 10 or 15 words from a particular book as well as review words from previously read books.
Depending on the book level the quiz will take around 5-10 minutes to complete. The results are calculated and shown to the child instantly.
Children earn points, or a portion of the book’s points, depending on how well they do on the Reading Practice quiz. For example, a child who takes a 5-question quiz on a book worth 1 point will earn 1 point for 5 correct answers (100%), 0.8 point for 4 correct answers (80%) etc. A child who reads a book worth 5 points and takes a 10-question quiz will earn the full 5 points for 10 correct answers (100%), 4.5 points for 9 correct answers (90%) etc. For quizzes with 3, 5 or 10 questions, a child needs to pass a quiz with a score of 60% or higher to earn points. For quizzes with 20 questions, a child needs to pass with a score of 70% or higher to earn points.
If a child does not do well on a quiz, they will be encouraged to choose a book that is more appropriate. Parents can help by asking questions about the book as a child reads it at home.
The number of quizzes continues to grow as new books are added to AR.
Children can take a quiz when:
- they have read a book independently;
- a teacher has read a book to them, e.g. class novel;
- they have read a book with someone, e.g. parent, teaching assistant.
A child can bring in books from home or the local library to read as part of AR if their teacher feels they are suitable. To conduct a simple book search to see if a book is on Accelerated Reader go to www.arbookfind.co.uk
HOW ARE TARGETS SET?
The AR program generates personalised targets for each child. These targets are based on how many AR points a child should be able to earn depending on how much time they read and their reading level. The more books a child reads, and the better they do on the quizzes, the more points they will earn.
Prizes will be given to children who meet and exceed their targets.
Children are also recognised for the total number of words that they read. Children who have reached these awards are celebrated in the KS2 Library display. Children are recognised for reaching the following milestones:
Once children have reached these milestones, their name is placed on the corresponding level on the display.
HOW MUCH DO WE READ IN SCHOOL?
According to research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% success rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains.
At St Bartholomew's Church of England Academy we aim to set aside at least 10 minutes for independent reading each day. With expectations of reading at least 4 times a week at home for 15 minutes, this equates to 110 minutes a week,which still leaves an additional 30 minutes a week.
Children read peer read daily during reading skills lessons, as well as 10 minutes daily, at the end of the day, being dedicated to 'Story Time' where the children are read to, which also counts towards this time.
Time is also roated across assembly time for additional reading. Target children are read with every day, alongside additional fluency groups.
HOW DO PARENTS KNOW HOW THEIR CHILD IS DOING?
Home Connect is a website that links school and home to keep parents informed of their child’s progress in AR.
Simply enter your child’s user name and password (all children should know this) and you will be able to:
- review results on AR quizzes taken in school
- view the number of books read, words read and quizzes passed
- see a virtual bookshelf showing the books your child has read
- sign up (optional) to receive an email every time your child takes a quiz to share the results with you instantly
Each child is unique and as such has an individual target related to their ZPD. If a child is reading for the set 20 minutes a day overall across the week, then they should be quizzing regularly and achieving the number of points set.
As a school, we work as a team with parents to ensure that children are on track to hit these targets. Expectations are in place to ensure that parents are looking at their child's progress and targets also to reinforce expectations, not just the school.
As a school we have invested significant funds in embedding these systems and expect children and parents to also take on the responsability to ensure they are engaging to help their child's reading to progress.
HOW CAN PARENTS HELP?
As with anything, performance improves with practice. We provide lots of opportunities for reading in school but you can help by encouraging reading at home too.
Logging on to Home Connect with your child at home is a great way to discuss the books they have read and their overall progress in reading.
Encourage your child to read with you and/or discuss what they have read. A child may be able to decode and read the words but may not have understood it, so asking questions about the book is important. Reading with your child, no matter what the age, is an important part of developing good reading skills and a lifelong love of reading.
If you have questions, please contact your child’s teacher or visit the AR website at www.renlearn.com to find out more.