Teacher_s Guide to Accelerated Reader

By, Yadira Martinez (Alton Elementary Librarian)
Elizabeth Mendez (Bryan Elementary Librarian)
Spread the Joy of Reading:
The fundamental mission of Accelerated Reader is to bring
the joy of reading to every student. Once students
experience the magic of reading, they willingly and happily
read. In fact, it becomes hard to stop them from reading
and their reading skills grow dramatically.
Accelerated Reading is not about the quizzes, the points, or
the technology; it’s about turning kids on to books!
Powerful Practice:
Reading is a skill and, as with every skill, it requires not just instruction
but practice. Reading practice serves a number of purposes. It
enables students to apply the skills and strategies that you teach. It
gives you opportunities to check student learning and identify
weaknesses. It draws students into the world of “real” reading-a
world in which people learn from and enjoy books.
•A.R. provides data that helps you monitor and personalize reading practice.
•A.R. encourages substantial amounts of practice according to guidelines
based on research findings.
•A.R. makes practice fun for students by facilitating successful encounters with
Does A.R. take the place of other reading or support?
Accelerated Reader is not designed to teach reading skills or
replace any other methods and/or reading in the school. It
supports and enhances reading practice, guiding students to read
books at a difficulty level which is right for them, providing
motivation and enjoyment, which will lead to greater acquisition of
reading skills.
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD):
Common sense tells us that whenever we practice a skill, we will
get the most from our efforts if we work at the right level.
Practicing with books that are too hard will result in frustration.
Practicing with books that are too easy does little to improve skills
and leads to boredom. With A.R., the ZPD will match students to
appropriate books. This will allow optimal learning to take place.
Students can then build on their reading skills and enjoy reading,
becoming confident, independent readers who read for pleasure.
What role will I have in the program?
Teachers will need to make sure all students on the program take the
online STAR Reading test and take time to look at the results. They
should then inform students about their ZPD and start them on reading
books and taking Accelerated Reader quizzes. Teachers will need to
monitor student progress using the data collected in the reports.
Feedback to each individual is vital with positive messages and rewards
given when the students do well on quizzes and guidance given to a
more appropriate book choice as necessary.
STAR Test:
The STAR Reading test provides a snap shot of reading achievement at that
point in time only, and like any test there are many factors that can affect
students’ results on a particular day. We always advise teachers to use their
own professional judgment when looking at results, together with other
teacher assessments, to get a full picture of reading abilities.
The main purpose of this test is to provide teachers with a starting point for
A.R. to help students become more motivated to read and gain enjoyment
from reading. The fact that STAR Reading provides a quick and easy method
of tracking and assessing reading progress makes it a very useful tool.
Suggestions for Teachers:
•Look at STAR Diagnostic reports and check the time it took the student to
complete their STAR test. Pupils should be spending about 8-10 minutes on
the assessment.
•Look at the STAR Growth report for the whole class to see if the class
average has improved.
•Take into account the ‘human factors’ as students’ emotions and
performance can be affected by their environment. As far as possible try to
avoid testing at distracting times. It is recommended to administer tests
within 1-2 weeks of the beginning of a new term.
•Make sure any STAR tests are completed under strict conditions in the
same quiet, calm environment.
•Refer to the STAR Reading test as an ‘assessment’ rather than a test.
•Remind them to treat it with full fidelity and concentration.
•Remind students to expect varying difficulty levels in the questions and that
the assessment is unique to them. (Monitor Testing Site)
Classroom Practices: The 10 Most Important
1. Understand Accelerated Reader and STAR Reading
2. Find the zone of proximal development (ZPD).
3. Schedule time for reading practice. Research shows that students need
about 35 minutes of scheduled time per day to accelerate growth.
4. Use the Student Reading Log.
5. Take Status of the Class daily. (Student/Teacher Conference)
6. Check the TOPS Report immediately. Send the TOPS Report home so
parents can see how their child is doing.
7. Review the Diagnostic Report weekly. Look at the diagnostic codes
which alert you to students who are having trouble.
8. Intervene promptly to ensure successful reading.
9. Set student reading goals.
10. Create a system of motivators. For example: Millionaires Club, Six Week
Incentive, Certifications, Lunch with Teacher, Bulletin Board, NUT Day
Goal Setting Best Practices
ZPD- The software estimates a ZPD based on the student’s STAR score.
Allow students to read throughout the entire zone.
Average-Percent-Correct Goal- The most important goal for all students is
to average a lease 85 percent on quizzes. Averages of 90 percent are
associated with even greater gains.
Point Goal- The software provides point goals that are appropriate for
each student’s reading ability, the amount of time that you schedule for
daily reading practice, and the length of the marking period. Point goals
are individualized, fair, and realistic. Please refrain from giving every
student the same point goal.
Book-Level Goal- Goals are set at the low end of students’ ZPDs to
encourage them to read freely throughout an appropriate range.
Best Practices for Adjusting Reading Practice Goals
Common situations:
1. Student is averaging close to 100% on Reading Practice quizzes.
2. Student is unable to maintain an average of 85% on quizzes.
3. Student is unable to meet a point goal.
4. Student is a high-ability reader.
5. Student’s STAR score has gone up.
6. Student’s STAR score has gone down.
Book Level, Interest Level, Points, and Reading Level
Book Levels- The ATOS (Advantage/TASA Open Standard) Readability Formulas for
Books determines Accelerated Reader book levels.
Interest Levels- Books are assigned an interest level based on publisher
recommendations about the grade-level appropriateness of the content.
LG= lower grades (K-3rd)
MG= middle grades (4th-8th)
MG+= middle grades plus (6th and up)
UG= upper grades (9th-12th)
Points- Points relate to a book’s length and difficulty.
Reading Levels- Student reading levels indicate the level of text a student can read
with comprehension. It is based on the STAR and Reading Practice Quizzes. The
grade equivalent (GE) indicates the highest level at which a student can
comprehend short passages on a test.
Diagnosis and Intervention Strategies
Watch for Problems
-Watch for signs that a student is struggling with a book when you have
discussions with them during Status of the Class.
-Review reports for students’ quiz scores and averages.
When to Intervene
-When student is struggling with a book.
-When student scores below 80 per cent on a single quiz.
-When student’s average drops below 85 per cent overall.
How to Intervene
-Talk with the student to identify the cause and severity of the problem.
-Decide together on a strategy to address the problem.
-Always guide a student in selecting the next book if they struggled.
-Provide appropriate teaching to develop student’s comprehension,
vocabulary, fluency and phonics skills.
Status of the Class Routines
Student Routine:
-Have your reading log out and a book to read.
-Read the book completely.
-If you finish or have finished the book, ask to take the Reading Practice
Teacher Routine:
Spend 30-60 seconds with a student, meeting one to one in this order.
-Students who are ready to take a quiz
-Students who are starting a new book
-Students continuing their book
Review, discuss, and initial Student Reading Logs. Review AR Diagnostic
Status of the Class Routines (continued)
Students who are ready to quiz:
Has the student finished the book? Did they read at a reasonable pace for
comprehension rom the date when they started reading?
Ask a few questions to ensure the student understood what they read.
Students who are starting a new book:
Check the book level. Is it in the student’s ZPD? If not, why not?
Check the book’s point value. Is the book length appropriate?
Check genre, author, and subject with questions.
Students continuing their book:
Check how much they have read since the date they started the book.
If too few pages, as why.
If too many pages ask the student if they can summarize what they’ve read.
Ask questions regularly to ensure students have comprehended
What makes a Successful Reader different?
Motivation- If students aren’t motivated, they won’t read. If they don’t read,
their reading skills won’t improve.
Key Skills Focus- Research shows that vocabulary and comprehension have
the greatest impact on reading achievement.
Ease of Use- There is a consistent daily pattern, so the student knows what to
expect and what is expected from beginning to end. This reduces anxiety
and allows the student to focus and concentrate on the day’s activities.
Practice- There is not substitute for practice, and practice time is an essential
part of becoming a successful reader.
Involve the Parents:
•They can encourage their child to read anything and everything in
and around the home.
•Emphasize how important it is that their child see them reading.
•Parents may take their child to visit the public library.
•Students can summarize what the book is about to their parents.
•Parent and Child may read together.
•It is important that parents set up a quiet reading area at home.
•Parents can incite the love of reading by celebrating success as a
•Weekly Parent Log
Empowered Educator Honor Roll Data Targets:
Accelerated Reader™
Educators achieve National Honor Roll status by providing no less than 25 weeks of data showing
success meeting the following data targets. Once you’ve met the 25-week requirement and achieved
data targets, complete the Honor Roll Submission Form. You may choose to submit your own data or
request that we access your hosted data. Please submit the form by May 15 to enable us to confirm
your Honor Roll status and recognize you prior to the end of the school year.
Teacher Level: Submit by May 15th
Honor Roll Submission Form at www.renaissance.com/customer-center/empowered-educator/honorroll.
Engaged Time Minimum of 25 minutes daily (class average)
Comprehension 90% or more of students have 85% or higher average percent correct on their Reading
Practice Quizzes. (Not the class average. Data located in the Diagnostic Code Summary on the
Diagnostic Report.)
Independent Reading 80% of points earned are from independent reading practice. (Class average.
Applies only to grades 3-12.)
How can the library help?
Flexible Scheduling
Library is opened before and after school
Book Recommendations and Guidance
Teacher consults with the librarian on a needed basis
Parent Training
Book Purchases
Monitoring is done at the circulation desk
Works Cited:
Getting Results with Accelerated Reader /Reading practice for all students. Retrieved
from http://doc.renlearn.com/KMNet/R003975403GG965F.pdf

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