Accelerated Reader

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by RMM, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. RMM

    RMM Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2008

    Last school year was my first experience with the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. I never felt like I was successful in using the system with my 1st grade students. Next year I'll be teaching 2nd grade and want to get off to a good start with the program. If anyone has any tips on explaining and using the AR program I would really appreciate them! Thanks!

    - RMM
     
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  3. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Our students are challenged to read and pass tests for 100 book from the start of the year until the end. Of course we have many who far exceed that number. 85% or higher is passing for us, but on some of the tests there are only 5 quest. so you cannot score 85%. I let my students know I allow 80%. I also require them to read picture books at least two times, and to skim through chapter books. If a students fails two or more test in one week I block them until I can pair them with a reading buddy. To encourage my kids to read and take test I give AR Parties for every 25 book read. Kids who have met that goal are invited to the room during lunch for a pizza or ice cream party. If you attend a school where you can not give that sort of thing you could give them extra recess or computer time.

    Some schools are more concerned with the points and not the number of books read. If that is the case it will depend on how many points each book is worth.

    I make sure my students know how important it is to read their books with comprehension because not only does it affect them, but the entire class(we have AR classes/students of the week) You can always block them out if you think they are failing the tests on purpose, and put them back on once you have conferenced with them.
     
  4. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jun 15, 2008

    leveling books

    Leveling books.
    It is important that all your books are leveled and students are reading at their level.
    www.renlearn.com AR click on quizzes. In the blank type in author or use the arrow button and go to author and type in author. Tells the points the books is worth, grade level and etc.

    All AR books are kept together and other books are together along the other wall. First and Second grade room books are kept in plastic baskets. 3rd , 4th, 5tth, 6th and etc are on shelves. In the reading room K or emergent readers and first, second and third levels are kept in baskets and others on shelves. There are only AR books in the reading room. We have a reading room and reading teacher, she gives extra reading help. This is like a library. Students Star test in the reading room (4 computers) and in their classrooms. All the classrooms have three or four computers. AR dots. Green=1.0 to 1.5, Blue 1.6 to 2.0, Red 2..1 to 2.5, Yellow 2.6 to 3.0, Orange 3.1 to 4.0, I can’t remember until I go back to school the other colors. We use the same colors for all classrooms for that level. Reading room, LD room and classrooms all have the same color for the same level. All books have the wrap around AR label with the book number, level and points it is worth. And the dot is just above this label along the edge, so you can see the level at a quick glance. Use clear shipping tape to cover and protect the labels. And keep the dots from popping off. *****buy the wrap around labels at the AR site. www.renlearn.com 3 ¾ by 1 ½ , click on On Line Store---yellow spot, the green box, next click on reading, next click on AR and go down to the AR Handwritten book labels, Pack of 100……
    *******If you have lots of books than divide the levels into more baskets. And this will depend on how many books you have for each subject. Mice, Earth, Birthday, Jobs, Christmas, Filmstrip, Fairy Tales, Curious George, Bears, Eggs, Mystery, Dinosaurs and Monsters, Animals, Cats and Dogs, Holidays, Eric Carle, (Clifford, Amelia Bedilla, Arthur) Birds, Horses, Pond, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Rain forest, and etc….. If you have more questions let me know…. I don’t think there is any right way or wrong way. Just whatever works for you….
     
  5. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Jun 15, 2008

    I totally forgot about the levels. I guess it's because our books come to us already leveled. :D
     
  6. AngelM

    AngelM Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2008

    My 2nd graders loved AR. It has turned out to be a great tool for me. I have special stickers on my picture books that are AR (leveled by color of stickers). I also have written the level and the AR quiz number on the inside cover. My students keep an AR book in their desk. When they finish "early" they take their books out and read. When they finish their books they can take the quizzes. I provided some incentives in the classroom, but schoolwide AR incentives are also provided. These incentives really motivated several of my students to want to do AR. Also, they were very independent in being able to get on the program on the computer, log in, take the tests, etc.
     
  7. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I have a question about that 100 book thing. I have fourth graders who were reading books like Redwall, which are 400 pages or so. One boy who reads far above grade level read 12 Redwall books, a Harry Potter, and just a few shorter books. He is a great reader and I wouldn't expect him to read more than that at school. What do kids like this do? read a bunch of picture books to make up the difference?

    I have strong readers for the most part, and some were also reading The Golden Compass, which is also 400 pages or so. I had one boy who read that series this year, and many kids read less than 10 books this year. I do reading every day for 20-30 minutes so now I am feeling like they are not reading enough. (Often we do 45 minute blocks as well in the afternoon, at least 2x a week when the reading specialist is there to conference with kids as well.) Even my most voracious readers probably only read 60 books. My kids almost never read picture books unless I MAKE them. We did a unit in non-fiction and everyone read maybe 10 non-fiction books but they were all short.

    What kind of books do your kids read where they are able to read 100 books in a year. Even if I had a LOW 3rd grader, who was reading Junie B. Jones or something or Magic Tree House, I imagine it would take at least a week to read the book at 30 minutes a day. I could still only figure someone could read 30-40 books a year at that rate.
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    We have different point goals for each grade. Our minimum goal level for second grade is thirty points. We just have an end of year field trip for those students who have made the minimum. I don't give out any prizes but will announce who made the most points during a week. I don't announce the overall point leaders because the kids usually know who those kids are and if I announce the weekly leaders, most of the time I will have a low reader in the top five which is a great motivator.

    My kids must complete an easy book report before taking their tests. The questions are fairly simple; title, author, setting, characters, problem, solution, beginning, middle and end. I started having the kids complete book reports to keep them from racing through a book.
     
  9. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    They don't just read them at school. I have students who read on hs level, and they love to read those 400+ page books. I actually had a student who only read chapter books and she read almost 500 books from Oct to May. There is ample time to read all day. After each assignment they pull out a book and read. The student who read close to 500 books even read at lunch. They rarely get time to read for pleasure during our reading block. There's no way I would expect them to read that many books if they only got 30 min a day to read. I require them to read for at least 30 min at night for hw.
     
  10. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Jun 15, 2008

    Is there a way to get a list of ALL the books that are on AR?
     
  11. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    I think it would depend on what books your school has tests for. At least that's how it is at my school. You might be able to ask your Media Specialist.
     
  12. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I don't do AR so I was just curious. We probably don't read enough in school, but my kids LOVE to read, and read for pleasure. Most read above grade level so I don't worry about it too much. I was just curious. We read 30 minutes during SSR and often at other times during the day, but obviously not as much as they would doing AR and trying to read 100 books a year or something.
     
  13. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    My best readers who read all the time at home never got to 100 hundred books, much less 500 books. I can't put my head around how that is possible. If you averaged that each book was 100 pages and they read from October-May, that would mean they would have to read around 230 pages a night right?

    Maybe I need to work on my student's reading. Or my math skills:)
     
  14. MsMaggs

    MsMaggs Comrade

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    Jun 16, 2008

    100x100= 10000 divided by 180 school days = 55.6 pages or so, still seems like a bit much to expect every school night... How's my math? ;)
     
  15. MS Candy

    MS Candy Comrade

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    Jun 16, 2008

    Shasha and I taught in the same district and my school did it very different. I am sure the end goal was the same.
    My Media Specialist handled the AR goal for each half of the school year. She also gave the parties 2 per year. She also handled the 2 field trips per year as well. She put each students goal on their library pass, which was great. FYI-5th graders know how to check their points and work the system!
    I ran reports and tracked points outside my door, with stickers on a chart. I also assigned reading as homework.
    For next year, I am following what I saw another teacher do...each night each student had to read and take a test every morning. The way this was done was with one short book and one chapter book. Students could check out and read the long books but kept up meeting their goal by reading the short books.
    I am not sure how it will work in my new district but I know it helped the students and I will miss AR if I do not have it.
    I do know that my Media Specialist said we will probably have fewer AR books because we will be a new school. Each test and book has to be purchased for each school....to my understanding.
     
  16. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    You will find all AR books listed here, but you can only take test on the books your school has paid to get the test. So you need to check with your AR person. www.renlearn.com AR click on quizzes. In the blank type in author or use the arrow button and go to author and type in author. Tells the points the books is worth, grade level and etc.

    Each of our teachers put in a request for test they would like to have at the end of each school year.

    Our school policy is that every student read 15 to 20 minutes every night. We have very little other home work. (spelling words and math facts plus reading)

    Some simple fun parties are rootbeer float, ice cream sudae, ice cream bar, pop, popcorn party, while listening to a book on tape. Everyone gets points for listening to the book passing the test.
     
  17. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Maybe I'm not explaining it properly, but I'm just saying 30min during school, and of course I would not expect them to read that many pages at night. There is ample time during the school day, if they don't waste time. These students had an ORF of about 200-250 wpm. Very fast readers with great comprehension.
    Not all of the their books were 400+ pages.
     
  18. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    This particular student would rather read than take a bathroom break, so I'm sure you went home to read instead of watch tv. She also had an ORF of about 220 wpm. We progress monitored every week. She also read about 5 picture books on her level a day. Just like mscandy said they read chapter AND picture books on their level. Hope this clears everything up.:D
     
  19. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    We make AR time a fun reading 30 minutes. Students rotate day by day to different fun ways of reading. Buddy reading two students read an AR book together. Each student in time will spend an AR time reading with all the classmates. Read to the teacher and other adult (para, aid, parent voluntary). Read at desk. Sit on a pillow anyplace in the room. Whisper Phones, great for fluency. Take two pieces of while plastic pipe and a tiny straight piece, when they are put together they look like a telephone receiver. Students whisper read in one end and can hear themselves with the end at their ear. Sit in the rocking chair and read. We use a pocket chart and move students names. They look at the chart and know what they will be doing that day.

    A big basket of bookmarks. Buy a few, make some using clip art and printing on colored paper, laminate to make them last longer, a couple pads of tiny sticker notes.
     
  20. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Froggy, I modified my goals per student depending on their level. Example would be for January everyone had to read 2 chapter books, 2 picture books, and 1 biography. The higher leveled kids would probably only read 1 chapter book and perhaps 1 biography (depending on the level of the 1st chapter book) since it would take them much longer to finish that one chapter book.
     
  21. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I believe that most if not all books have an AR test available but each must be purchased. Correct me if I am wrong.
     
  22. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jun 16, 2008

    There are other threads on this topic.
    Check them out too.

    I use AR for silent reading only.
    It's one way that I know the kids are reading and comprehending a book at their level.
     
  23. christi1273

    christi1273 Rookie

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    At our school, each child takes the STAR reading test. This test gives them their reading range. Each child has a different goal based on their reading range per quarter. If they met their goal (number of points with an 85% average) they get to participate in the class reward. A new goal is set every quarter.
     
  24. greyna2

    greyna2 Rookie

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    The students take the STAR test to determine their level.My students were required to read and take a test on at least 4 books per week on their level. If they didn't pass it, I would go in and remove their score and they had to read it again and take the test again. AR is one of their choices in Daily 5.
     
  25. MrsCase

    MrsCase Rookie

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    I think there are many pros/cons to AR. It was REALLY pushed at my school last year when I taught 3rd grade.

    Pros: motivates otherwise unmotivated readers who also have a competitive spirit, allows students to work on reading within their own personal ZPD (according to STAR tests) until they can move up, you can print out nice little reports for yourself and parents about reading levels/progress, etc...

    Cons: Students who are not competitive aren't necessarily motivated by the program, some students are good readers but do not like to take the quizzes on the computer, some students figure out ways to cheat (seriously!) by having others take quizzes for them (especially if your school rewards kids based on AR points) and my personal beef.....Sometimes the kids get so wrapped up in getting points, they don't read for pleasure. I had many students who were very competitive and only wanted to get more points, so they would not read ANY book unless it was an AR book. Now, there are plenty of good books on the AR list, but some of the best literature is not an AR book. I was very sad to see this happen to some of my students.

    So...I recommend integrating AR into language arts if you want, but not to let it be the focus of your reading program. It has good qualities and bad just like everything else out there!
     
  26. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I know that our district is going to an AR web base which means that all of the AR tests (which are limitless) will be available on-line. Your district, however, and building may have purchased a certain amount since they are expensive. Luckily, when you purchase AR books from Scholastic they are leveled-hopefully you'll have the tests to them, too!
     
  27. c_muschany

    c_muschany Rookie

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    Hi, I have been doing AR for the last two years in a second grade class. We have almost an hour each day for AR. I require that each student take at least one test a day. They read smaller picture books that are on their level and then they can read anything they want for the rest of the time. I have been able to achieve model and master classroom both years and am very proud of the kids. I think AR is a great tool to check comprehension and just get them reading. I do agree that they focus too much on taking tests, but allowing them to take that test on a smaller book and then read anything they want seems to help with that. I have students that focus on taking tests and I have made a rule that they can't take more than two tests a day. It works out well for the number of books that is required for model and master and as the year progresses, we really improve on scores.

    The beginning of the year can be tough because it is hard for them to be quietly reading for that long, so we build up to the time of 50-60 minutes. The do a pretty good job starting around Christmas.
     
  28. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    When my students earn 1,000 points we have a pajama party. They bring their pillows, fuzzy wuzzies, blankies, house shoes, food.... it's so much fun. We work on the goal as a family unit. Those who can read above level are just as important as those who barely get by. We just about always reach 2,000 points before school is over, giving us 2 parties!

    Just make sure parents are aware of it in time so no one is caught not having any decent p.j.s to wear. I've had to send my husband to Wal Mart before to pick up some for a student.
     
  29. Daisha

    Daisha Companion

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    Jun 25, 2008

    Hoot Owl, what grade do you teach? I was just wondering because I liked your idea (the pj party), but I teach 1st and almost all books read at that level are only worth 0.5 per book. What do you think would be a good goal for that grade?
    Also, is there someplace on the AR website, where it gives you a report of class total points, or do you have to add up the students' individual points?
    Thank You very much!
     
  30. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jun 25, 2008

    Our school policy says, "No" PJs so we do all the above and the students all wear sweats. We do this on Dr. Suess birthday and Read Across America.
     
  31. lteach2

    lteach2 Cohort

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    Do you use AR logs/record folders? Do mini-lessons on how to fill these out. If you have a poster maker at your school, blow up the log into a poster and hang it up and fill out the chart together. If you don't then you could always make one into a transparency. Also do mini lessons on how to select books.

    We have kids take the STAR test at the beginning of the school year so we have their ZPD (zone of proximal development). This gives us the level range they need to be reading in (ex. 0.9-1.9).
    Our students must have a 90% average unless they are new English speakers, then 85%. We have a 30 minute AR block every afternoon. At the beginning of the school year, I do lots of read alouds during AR so we can practice recording in our folders. I also make my students do AR reports before every test-whether it is a read aloud, buddy read, or independent. At the beginning of the year (I teach 2nd), I let them do a picture walk and then explain the story to me aloud. As the year goes on, I change the reports and they have to write what the book was about, what they liked about it, and if they would recommend it or not. Then they can take their reports and folders to the computer for the test.

    Each class has a weekly goal of trying to have each student take at least 1 test and the class have an average of 90% or better. On Fridays we have a school TV show and the "top" reader (w/ the most pts. and 90% avg. or better) goes to be on the tv show. They draw prizes then. Class graphs are hung on the wall outside the cafeteria so you can see the points and avg. of each class. At the end of each quarter, all students who made their goals get to go to a celebration. We have had carnivals, ice cream parties, etc. The kids always look foward to it. I've never had anyone in my class who didn't like AR! This year we even finally made AR Model classroom and our school made AR Model School!
     
  32. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Jul 2, 2008

    Wow, Iteach, y'all go way out. Even though our district tried to do away with AR (one of our board member's kid didn't reach his goal and was excluded from activities---he has a job and couldn't be bothered with reading with his child!!! How dare we???!!!!) I still try to incorporate goals and reward systems for this children who do reach their goals. I took 8 students out for pizza because they reached 100 points or more by the end of the year (some were at 140). I didn't realize that 100 points was obtainable by most 4th graders since most are reading at a higher level by this time. But I do have them fill out logs for picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, and biographies.
     

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