Monday, June 13, 2011

Accelerated Reader

My new school participate in Accelerated Reader (AR) to motivate students to read. If you are not familiar with AR it is a reading program designed to supplement a literacy program and motivate students to read using a point system. Students choose books to read and then take AR tests. Books have a point system varying on the grade levels and reading difficulty.  The easier comprehension tests are 5 questions and the harder the book the more questions the test has.  Here are some of my findings about AR:


It can be motivating to students.
Students independently choose their own books.
Teachers can monitor students' reading progress.
Reports provide information for students, teachers, and parents on reading progress.
A leveled system and point system is in place to match students to just right books.

All books are not AR books so students can not take a test on every book.
Test questions do not assess inferential or critical thinking skills.
Incentive based reading program
Does not promote long term reading

I know that access to books and time allotted for independent reading is supported by research. The other two aspects of AR: tests and rewards have not yet been proven to results in reading gains or promote long term read.

Here are some articles I have read to help me form a opinion about AR:

Does Accelerated Reader Work?
Independent Research Studies - Accelerated Reader

Does your school use AR? Do you like the program? Do you level all your AR books? How?

Now I'm off to try to level my books with the point system for AR. I hope that I can motivate my students without rewards to want to read and share my love of reading with my students this year. I want my students to become life long readers who devote time to reading.


  1. Our school uses AR and most of the teachers I talk to do not like it. Most of the reasons I cannot go into because our admin isn't implementing the program in a positive way. I can see some benefits of using it in the upper grades, but it's really difficult for the first grade and kindergarten teachers to use when they're being pressured for perfection.

  2. Melissa thank you so much for your input. I also think it pressured students, make them measure their reading to their peers, and motivates them in extrinsic ways. I want my students to love reading for reading not for points. I'm going to put my best foot forward ad not place to much emphasis on it.

  3. I'm a new follower and I also work in Orange County. Congrats on your new position! I can't get into my classroom until pre-planning. Thank goodness I left everything clean and organized when I left for the summer.

    I wanted to say that my school also participates in AR. We just got access to all of the AR tests this past year. We used to have a handful of tests and books which didn't make the program easy to implement. I teach Kindergarten and my students started participating in it during the last 9 weeks. Many of them were reading well into a first grade level and were excited about reading "first grade" books. Once a few of them started, everyone wanted in! My students and I had a really positive experience with it. It helped them practice their strategies and built some new confidence! Many kids found a new series that they really enjoyed (Biscuit was a BIG favorite with many of my kiddos). I think how you present the program and manage it has a lot to do with the outcome you will receive.

    ❤ Jen

    Kindergarten Klassroom

  4. Jen,

    Thank you so much for your positive outlook on the program. I have labeled all my books so my students know the AR points. Hopefully with a positive outlook it AR will challenge students like you experienced and motivate them to read books that are just right for them.

    It's great to know a fellow blogger from Orange County! :)
    Thanks for joining!