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How can I help my child become a better reader?

As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookstore on a regular basis, letting your child see you reading, and discussing books that each of you has read. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child comprehends what is read. Reading with your child, no matter what the child’s age, is an important part of developing a good reader, building a lifelong love of reading and learning, and creating a loving relationship between you and your child. Make learning a family affair!

My child already does well in school. Why does she need this?

Even if a child is gifted at playing a musical instrument, she has to practice to develop her talent. Bright children, like all children, need to be challenged. Teachers using AR software in their classrooms find it easy to guide each student to books that give the child both challenge and success, regardless of the child’s level.

Accelerated Reader (AR)

As part of our reading curriculum, we encourage independent reading through the Accelerated Reader (AR) Program.  AR is an invaluable supplemental reading program, which enhances comprehension skills in books that the children read on their own.  Your child will be participating in the Accelerated Reader (AR™) program in grades 1 –5 at Moffett School.

This brief guide is designed to answer your most commonly-asked questions about AR. 

What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?

AR is an online computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor students’ independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read.) 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. Children using AR choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can select books that are interesting to them.

Teachers and librarians help your child choose books at an appropriate reading level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can pass the quiz and experience success. If your child does not do well on the quiz, the teacher may help him choose another book that is more appropriate or ask more probing questions as your child reads and before he takes a quiz.  In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they’re reading books at their own reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace.

How does the school determine my child’s reading level?

Teachers determine your child’s reading level by administering the STAR Reading™ test, a computerized reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child misses a question, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 10-20 minutes.

What is a book level?

Book levels are reported using the ATOS™ readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. For example, a book level of 4.5 means that the text could likely be read by a student whose reading skills are at the level of a typical fourth grader during the fifth month of school.

What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?

In independent literature-based reading, ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD range after taking the STAR Reading test.  It’s important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPDs. ZPDs should be adjusted based on the needs of your child.

What are points?

Every book that has an AR Reading Practice Quiz is given a point value. AR points are computed based on the difficulty of the book (ATOS readability level) and the length of the book (number of words). Children earn points, or a portion of a 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 5 points for 10 correct answers (100%), 4.5 points for 9 correct answers (90%), etc. A child needs to pass a quiz with a score of 60% or higher to earn points.

 

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What if my child doesn’t like reading?

Using Accelerated Reader, your child will choose the books he wants to read. The teacher will make certain the book is at the right level so that after completing the book, your child should do well on the AR Reading Practice Quiz. Success on the quiz will encourage your child to read more. With guidance from the teacher, and success, even students who say they don’t like reading will develop a love of reading.

My child is not a strong reader. Can he/she still use A.R.?

Accelerated Reader helps all children become better readers, from students with special needs to those who are gifted and talented. When children read books at an appropriate level, they experience success. Furthermore, teachers work with children to set appropriate goals based on each child’s reading level.

Is it OK for my child to read outside the given ZPD?

Just because a child can read the words in a book doesn’t mean the content is appropriate. The interest level of the material must be considered. Interest level is based on content—a book’s themes and ideas—and indicates for which age group a book is appropriate. The chart below shows which grades fall into each interest level.

These are recommendations. It is the responsibility of teachers, librarians, and parents to use their best judgment when guiding children to appropriate books.

LG—Lower Grades        K-3

MG—Middle Grades      4-8

UG—Upper Grades        9-12