What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?
AR is a computer program that helps parents and teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his own level and reads it at his own pace. When finished, your child takes a short multiple-choice quiz on the computer, and the computer grades the quiz. Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what he read – i.e. that he comprehended the material. Students earn points based on how they perform on the quizzes.
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 choose books that are interesting to them.
Where does my child take the AR quizzes?
Children have two locations where they may take quizzes:
(1) In the computer lab. The lab is open Monday through Friday, between 7:30 am – 8:00 am.
(2) In the classroom. All classrooms are equipped with the AR software on a computer. The time of day students may take tests varies, depending on the teacher’s schedule.
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). For example, the Berenstain Bears books, which are about 1,000 words long and have an average ATOS book level of 3.5, are 0.5-point books. Hank the Cowdog, which is about 23,000 words long and has an average ATOS book level of 4.5, is a 3-point book. The Sun Also Rises, about 70,000 words long and at an ATOS book level of 4.4, is a 10-point book.
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 80% or higher to earn points.
Are there rewards for earning points?
Yes! The AR program has wonderful incentives. They include:
AR points translate into “AR dollars” which the students may then spend in the “AR Store.” The Store is open one day at the end of the first three quarters of the school year. During lunchtime, students visit the store and may select from the items available. There are toys from Oriental Trading, ice cream passes, dress down passes, etc….. The schedule for the AR Store is posted on the school website. AR parent volunteers administer the program and distribute the dollars to the teachers; no tracking is required of parents. Students may not accumulate AR dollars from quarter to quarter.
Students who earn a predetermined number of points are eligible for an ice-cream party at the end of the school year. The number of points and cutoff dates are posted on the school website, under the AR menu.
Students who earn a predetermined number of points are eligible for end-of-year incentives, such as gift cards. Again, the required points and cutoff dates are posted on the school website.
How do I enroll my child in the AR Program?
All students are automatically enrolled in the AR Program. Each child receives a unique username, which is typically the first initial of his first name and the first four letters of his last name. For example, Sally Jones would be SJONE and Tom McFalls would be TMCFA. The password is 1234 for all students. The children log into the computer using their username and password. Teachers have copies of all the students’ usernames, and copies are kept in the computer lab in the event a child forgets his username.
How do I track my child’s progress on quizzes, and see what books he has read?
The AR Program software includes a component called Renaissance Home Connect, which provides parents with a snapshot of their child’s reading progress. Accelerated Reader progress includes average percent correct on quizzes, number of points earned, and results on the last quiz. You have the option to receive email notifications when your child has taken an Accelerated Reader™ Quiz. Also, you and your child are able to see all the books the child has read. By clicking on a book cover, you can get details on the book such as ATOS™ book level, word count, points, and more.
Details on how to access Renaissance Home Connect are provided on the school website, under the AR menu.
How can I find out if a book is an “AR Book”, how many points it is worth, or help my child find new books to read?
Renaissance Home Connect (see question above) links to AR BookFinder™, the new online search tool that makes it easy for you and your child to search for the next AR™ book to read.
Use BookFinder to search for books using various criteria, including author, subject, or reading level. Also, a “Help” button will lead you to information such as how to use specific features within AR BookFinder.
Who is in charge of AR?
The PTO funds the annual cost of the AR software each year (approximately $1500), and it funds the incentives such as the AR store prizes and the ice cream party. Thank you for supporting the PTO and making these programs possible!
Within the PTO, the AR Program falls under Academics. There are two co-chairs of AR, and they work together to administer the program itself, manage the tracking of data and points earned for all students, and manage the AR Store.
When can my child start taking AR quizzes?
The AR Program typically starts in September, once we have enough parents to volunteer for the AR lab and the volunteer schedule has been made. Please check the website for current-year information as to the start date for AR. If you would like to volunteer to help students in the computer lab (you can volunteer as often or as little as you would like), please email the AR chairpersons. The chairperson names and email addresses are provided on the school website, under the AR menu.