I have been a firm believer in the Accelerated Reader program for many years. It makes sense that the more you practice reading and test yourself to be sure you understand what you’ve read...the more likely it is that your reading skills will grow. Last year, my students became the royal readers of Del Dayo. In a single year the children read and tested themselves on more than 900 books. The books, of course, ranged in challenge level but that is the design of this program. It is individualized to both challenge and allow success for every student. With very few exceptions, the children were reading daily and loving the books they read. The program begins with a computerized comprehension test. With every correct answer, the test jumps a notch in challenge level. The computer processes the data and gives the child a ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development.) Using that “success range” reading level, students choose a book and read it at their own pace. The reading level books should allow success without being too easy. After finishing a book, students will test themselves on that book using the AR computer program. A score of 80% or higher shows the student that he or she read a book that was “just right!” The children get immediate feedback on the results of their quiz, and I can monitor their progress through the computer program software. Stars are awarded to the students based on the quiz score, as well as the length and difficulty of the book read. Because Readers’ Workshop is such a vital element of my language program, frequent AR testing on ZPD level books is simply a requirement for vibrant comprehension grades. I do have a rubric established for earned STARs on the AR chart. It isn’t a contest between children but a personal challenge for all students to actively engage in building their reading skills along with their reading stamina. From the first day of class, the STAR chart will be visible. I will constantly review the expectations with the children so that they can pace themselves each trimester and achieve the goal they set for themselves. This reading grade is reflected in the Comprehension score on the report card. I have had high functioning readers earn a 4 in Fluency and a 2 in comprehension due to a lack of investment. The reciprocal has been true for struggling readers who read religiously and surpassed the rubric requirement on AR. Though they were at a 2 in fluency, they earned a 4 in comprehension. They were fully understanding the books they had tested on and were successful at raising their fluency by year’s end! It just doesn't make sense to know where the goal post is in a soccer match and choose to pick flowers in the backfield leaving the ball on the ground beside you. In reading, every child must pick up a book, read it with understanding and make that goal with a passing score on the AR test. The families who encouraged their children to read and test and read and test left third grade with skilled, bright, voracious readers. The three or four students who chose not to read will pay a heavy price in fourth grade. With the 30 minutes of reading for homework each evening along with Readers’ Workshop, even the most reluctant reader will move closer and closer to becoming a confident reader. Please help me give your child this year to become a book lover!
Trimester 2 A.R. STAR Count
With the beginning of a new trimester, it is time to get your child actively involved in reading and AR testing! Please don't allow the weeks to slip by and force your child into a high pressure reading marathon! 40 Stars=4+ 35 Stars=4 30 Stars=3+ 25 Stars=3 20 Stars=2+ 15 Stars=2 10 Stars or less=1