Reading at Woodlands with Accelerated Reader
Woodlands has been using Accelerated Reader for the last four years and have had great success in this time. We have had pupils who were unable to read on entry and left with a reading age that will allow them to be successful in life. Pupils also tend to begin Woodlands with negative feelings towards reading based on previous school experience. However, pupils will leave Woodlands enjoying reading and feeling like they’ve found a tool to distract them from any social, emotional and mental health issues they have.
Accelerated Reader is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor pupil’s independent reading practice. Pupils picks a book at their own level, based on test data, and reads it at their own pace in dedicated reading time every day. When the book is finished, pupils take a short quiz on the iPad to see if they understood what they read. Passing the quiz would indicate a good level of comprehension. Accelerated Reader gives pupils and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help the pupil set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
Pupils using Accelerated Reader 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. Pupils are also involved in buying new books into the school and can request specific books they are keen to read.
Teachers support pupils when choosing books at an appropriate readability level; books that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that the pupil can pass the quiz and experience success.
If the pupil does not do well on the quiz, the teacher may help:
Choose another book that is more appropriate.
Ask more probing questions as the pupil reads and before the pupil takes a quiz.
In most cases, pupils really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they’re reading books at their reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most pupils. Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace.
Star Reading Test
In order for pupils to be able to select books at the appropriate level, pupils take a computerized reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. This consists of questions that continually adjust to the pupil’s responses. If the response is correct, the difficulty level is increased and if a pupil misses a question, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes a minimum of 15 minutes to gain an accurate indication of the pupils’ reading ability. Each pupil completes a Star Reading test at the beginning of every term in September, January and April, or on entry to Woodlands.
The results of the test will present a wealth of data for teachers to use but most importantly for pupils, it will give them a ZPD range. In independent literature-based reading, ZPD is the range of books that will challenge the pupil without causing frustration or loss of motivation. It’s important for pupils to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPDs. If pupils read below or above their ZPD, this could mean they are reading books that are too easy or too hard for them. Books are banded in ZPD order at Woodlands and have stickers to help pupils select books confidently. They can also choose books relevant to their age and interest. The Library has a wide selection of books for pupils to choose from.
Information for Parents
As with anything, reading 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, 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 is comprehending 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!