Having Trouble Understanding Your Child’s Accelerated Reading Program?

Lately, I’ve been working in collaboration with my Aunt, who is a librarian for both a Christian School & a Community Library. Yes, she’s a busy lady! Being that we’re off school until September, I volunteered to help her with her mountainous tasks for back-to-school. This work sparked a conversation about how confusing the Accelerated Reading Program can be.

How are books rated? How many do they have to read? The questions are endless. It seems that no one gives a straight up answer to how exactly it works. I’ll try to explain the best I can.

Obviously, the first thing to know is that it requires reading! Ha, just kidding, you knew that.
The Accelerated Reader program is all about reading comprehension. A student picks book that strikes their fancy and is on their reading level. Each book, based on its length and the reading level, is scored in points. Obviously, the more challenging a book is, the more points it’s awarded.

This is all done via computer. The student(s) will take a comprehension based quiz to determine how well they ‘got it’. The kiddos get a percentage of points by getting questions right. If they’re getting them wrong, they didn’t comprehend the selection. With me so far?

What if my kid thinks reading is a form of torture? I’d recommend using an Accelerated Reading book finder. Yes, it’s a real thing. You can use Google to locate one of those. Type in what your kid is into and find a book he or she might actually read. Example, if you have a sports fan, try Sports Fiction or see if LeBron James has an autobiography.

Why do you have to do this? The answer is to help the adminstrators in you child’s life to see how well they read independently. Plus, it sparks a love of reading. They read at their own pace. However, if your students are like mine, they’re professional procrastinators. Reading is essential to a successful life. Good readers get good jobs and make good money so they don’t end up living in your basement until they’re 60! Real talk.

Your self and your school’s librarian will get these quiz results and be able to see how your child is doing. Moving on, for example, let’s say a book has a rating of 4.5 That simply means a child reading it is on the level of the fourth grade in the 5th month of school. Easy, right? Whether or not this 4.5 rated book is an appropriate choice can be assessed by speaking with your friendly neighborhood librarian.

Quizzes for the books are divided this way: LG (Lower Grades, K–3),MG (Middle Grades, 4–8),MG+ (Middle Grades Plus, 6 and up),UG (Upper Grades, 9–12). Every school may be different, but a successful score is 80% or more.

My child is a super reader, how can he/she read harder books? If your student has consistently aced the quizzes, his/her level will be slightly raised as they progress. Talk to your school folks. They will be a great resource for how well your kiddos are doing. It is NOT an intelligence test. It is a helpful tool. Think of it like a work evaluation. Your boss gives you one, you and the boss determine your strengths & weaknesses.

Anything not covered here can be answered where the books are- with your librarian. Have a fab school year!

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