Developing a Reading Culture with Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is an online reading programme that is highly effective at developing a reading culture in your school. Accelerated Reader is a programme that has been developed by Renaissance Learning, There is a repository of quizzes on over 180,000 childrens books on the platform.

How does it work?

At the start of each term, students complete an online screening assessment known as the STAR Reading Test. This screening test varies the questions based on a child’s performance and finds their Zone of Proximal Development. This ZPD dictates the level of books that the students will read. These books will be at an instructional level for each individual child. Once the children have read their book, they can log into their account and complete a comprehension (and also in some cases, vocabulary) quiz. The data gathered from these quizzes can be very effective for identifying a child’s needs and allowing you to put bespoke interventions in place.

What can the teacher get from it?

The entire Accelerate Reader programme provides the teacher with a huge amount of data and a great insight into the reading level of each child in the class. From the STAR Reading Dashboard, the teacher can access a range of reports, ranging from diagnostic to instructional planning. An example of these are provided below.

Similar reports are available once the child starts reading books and completing quizzes within Accelerated Reader – these reports can help flag any issues a child is having with comprehension and their specific needs in this regard.

How can it motivate students?

From my experience, Accelerated Reader has been brilliant for getting all children in a class engaged in reading – this ranges from reluctant readers to highly competent readers. There are a number of ways in which you can achieve this. The use of ‘targets’ is one of the best ways. Each Accelerated Reader book has a banded level and a point total attached to it. When a children completes a quiz, their percentage correct will equate to that percentage of points from the book (e.g. a score of 9/10 on a book with 1 point would equate to 0.9 points towards the child’s target). The visual of a flower filling as they progress towards their target is provided after each quiz. This really helps to keep children motivated. Furthermore, the fact that all children are reading at an instructional level means that they are achieving success with reading and not feeling frustrated with reading. The targets are automatically generated based on a child’s STAR Reading level, meaning that all children should be able to reach their target. A visual representation of a class’ progress towards ‘targets’ is visible below.

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