Nerdy Mama

Accelerated Reader Program

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My daughter’s school participates in the Accelerated Reader (AR) program and I really like the program. It focuses on reading comprehension, which is very important! She is now in 1st grade, so we had some experience with it during kindergarten and I wanted to share it all with for my blog readers.

For starters, it is unlikely that your school will provide answers to all the questions you have about this program. I love my school and my daughter’s teachers, but they just didn’t have information readily available, so I did my own research. Because I am nerdy like that.

STAR Assessment

If your child is in kindergarten, then they will take this assessment to determine if they are ready for the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. For older children, this assessment is provided to determine their independent reading level. This test is given periodically during the year and is conduct on the computer. It is expected for assessment scores to increase each time the child takes the test.

The school will provide you with a report of your child’s assessment. This full report will outline all the areas assessed. This will help you focus your at-home attention of these areas. Just a note, I had to Google the terms to determine what they were, but after I did that, everything made perfect sense!

Accelerated Reader (AR) Tests

Once your child has been assigned a range (example: 1.7 – 2.7), then they will begin reading books within that range and testing on them. Each student will be provided an AR goal to obtain each quarter. As they increase in range and grade-level, their goals will increase.

The test is conducted on a computer or tablet and it consists of 5 multiple-choice questions about the book. To help prepare your child for the test, ask them tons of questions about the book. Make sure they have a really good understanding. For example, if your child has read “Parts” by Tedd Arnold, ask them questions like:

(1) What did he think came out of his belly button?

(2) What did he think fell from his nose?

If they get all questions correct, then they get the full points assigned to that book. Many of the 1st grade books can only achieve .5 points. Therefore, for my daughter to achieve her AR goal each quarter (3 points), she has to successfully test on 6 books.

My Personal Tips for Accelerated Reader (AR)

AR Tip #1: If this is your child’s first AR test, then select a book they already really know well. In kindergarten, my daughter first tested on a book about Frozen. While she knew ALL the answers from the movie, it gave her a great opportunity to see how the test was conducted. I believe this helped to reduce her test anxiety over the process.

AR Tips #2: Download the AR app from the App Store, it is called Points Scan Free. Just scan the ISBN of any book and it will tell you the AR range. Scan your books at home to see if any of them can qualify for testing! Label them with stickers so you can easily keep track of what books your child should be reading at home.

AR Tip #3: Don’t wait until the end of the quarter to have your child achieve their AR goal. This will only stress out your child and add a backlog to the teacher’s testing schedule.

AR Tip #4: Ask your child to TRY to remember the test questions. They don’t usually tell them what questions they missed, which is a bummer. But if your child can remember some of the questions, then that will just help the both of you prepare for next time.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Study Guides

To help my daughter, myself, my friends, and all of you, I create study guides for each book my daughter tests on. This allows me (my mom, husband, etc.) to quiz her on what she reads prior to the test. As you all know, parents have to help facilitate healthy study habits by also going through the emotions of reading and preparing for a test. My study guides are aimed to make it a little easier on parents who just don’t have the time to make their own.

NOTE: I don’t know what the AR test questions are and even if you kid knows all the answers on my study guide, I cannot guarantee he/she will pass the test. What works for us, may or may not work for you and your child.

Link:  An Unconventional June’s Accelerated Reader (AR) Study Guides

Help your kid to score big on their accelerated reader (AR) tests!

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  1. Nice article! Very helpful information about the AR reading program. Our elementary school doesn’t use that exact program but it seems very similar. They also focus strongly on comprehension. They ask a lot of questions like “how do you think the main character felt when x happened?”. Also, they encourage the children to make “connections” or find similarities between the story and other things (real life scenarios, other books, concepts learned in other subjects, etc). It’s always fun to observe the kids’ minds at work.

    1. I love it! Many parents complain about the extra testing, but I think it is great. When I was a kid, you could easily make it through school without getting the help needed to maximize your learning.

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