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Mount St Catherines Primary School, Windmill Hill, Armagh

Accelerated Reading


Why has our school chosen Accelerated Reader?

Mount St.  Catherine's has a strong ethos of reading and we are always striving to improve and give the best opportunities to our pupils. We recognised that although children were reading freely and choosing books from the library, children weren’t always reading at the correct challenging level and some children were reluctant to read and occasionally lacked motivation. The benefits of reading an appropriately complex book are clear: children encounter new vocabulary, are able to link their reading to wider experiences and contexts and use and apply learned reading skills at the correct level of challenge. Accelerated Reader guides pupils to read texts that are of their interest, maturity and reading level. This is immediately more motivating for children and Accelerated Reader’s research shows that children who read books daily that fit these criteria, develop at a greater rate.  We recognise that reading skills and ability can underpin a child’s achievement in education. We aim to use Accelerated Reader for this and to develop a lifelong love of reading in our pupils.

How is my child’s ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) / book level generated?

Your child will take a Star Reader test. This assessment is not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, it purely represents your child’s reading ability at the time taken. This is online and takes approximately 20-30 minutes. It starts with initial generic questions which become easier or harder depending on the child’s answers. The questions are multiple choice but we encourage children not to guess if they’re unsure, to help teachers get a more accurate picture of their reading ability. The assessment will happen half termly to ensure your child is being guided to read the most challenging texts for them in order to make the best progress. It will be carried out in class in an informal manner and teachers will always encourage the children to try their best to reassure them. 

How will my child know which book to get?

Most books in the library are labelled with the ZPD/book level on the spine to help them choose. They can also find a sticker on the inside of the book with information about the book level, points that can be earned, author and quiz number. On the children’s Accelerated Reader page recommendations pop up depending on previous reads too. Finally, there may be books your child wants to read from the local library, home or a bookshop but isn’t sure whether it fits their book level. In this case, please use to see what level the book is and to find other recommendations.

Should my child read their book in a certain amount of time?

There is no set time in which a child should read a book as we know children will be reading different length books and at different speeds. We ask that they read daily for 20-30 minutes and this way, they will complete a book in a reasonable amount of time.

How often does my child need to do a quiz?

Your child will do a quiz every time they finish a book. This means there is no set number to be done in a set amount of time because children will be reading at different rates due to varying length of books and the different speeds at which they read. We try to ensure that children will do the quiz linked to their book within 48 hours of completing the text so it’s still fresh in their minds. This way it will be a more valid representation of their understanding of the text read.

How can we as parents support at home?

We know how supportive our parents are at home. We would love you to:

·         Encourage your child to read for 20-30 minutes a day and monitor.

·         Make sure your child is reading books at the appropriate level of challenge (within his/her reading range).

·         Talk to your child about what he/she is reading.

·         Listen to him/her read. Give lots of praise.

·         Discuss his/her reading book – reading comprehension questions are available on the school website. 

·         Encourage him/her to look up and record new vocabulary.

·         Use to search for suitable books (an advanced search will let you search for books within your child’s reading range and by genre)

How will the teachers monitor my child’s reading?

The test and quizzes your child does give the teacher valuable feedback about their understanding of the texts they have read and which skills they are struggling with. Teachers will use this information to help them plan their guided reading sessions so they can teach those necessary skills. Teachers will also assess during guided reading and will not use the data generated by Accelerated Reader alone.

What happens if they don’t ‘pass’ a quiz?

We have set most children the target of 80% for their quizzes. If your child doesn’t meet this target, please don’t worry too much. The same message will be relayed to your child. We encourage children to try their best and to be determined and resilient and it may be that they have simply had an off day or rushed the quiz. It could, however, be because they haven’t understood the vocabulary or the comprehension behind the text. Your child’s class teacher will be able to decide upon this and plan to teach certain reading skills and strategies if this is what is required. If this is a continual theme, the information Accelerated Reader can generate from their quiz answers and the observations the teacher will have made during guided reading will guide the class teacher with which area of reading your child is struggling with. Teachers will then be able to put in specific support and liaise with you as parents to try and improve this.  

If you have any other questions, we’re always available so please speak to your class teacher who will gladly try to answer them!