Accelerated Reader(56 Posts)
We've just been informed that DD (5yo, year 1) will be taking a 'star test' and be put on accelerated reader.
Her reading is 'level 30', although I'm not sure what the level corresponds to book band wise. Her recent book says ORT 15/16.
Please can someone tell me about accelerated reader and what the star test consists of. Google tells me DD will be required to take regular tests. Do you think this will be 'too much' for a year one?
I've asked school, but the year one teacher doesn't usually deal with accelerated reader so DD will be looked after by the year 2 teacher for this and I haven't managed to speak to them yet.
There is a parents guide to Accelerated Reader and STAR tests here
I am not familiar with AR, but there are a lot of past post you can search. Tbh, it doesn't sound great.
I have commented on your other thread, but yeah, she is exceptionally gifted reader, LV30(RR)/ LV 15/16(ort) is meant for yr5/yr6 children's level. So some books may not suit her emotional maturity.
My schools have used it & lots do in our area (secondary).
I quite like it.
On people not liking it, what I would say is its effectiveness depends on how well it's managed in school.
E.g. is it just 'star test them at the start, let thrm read for a year and then star test them at the end because we need to show impact' or is it ran as part of the literacy/english curriculum?
If wrll managed with a good range of books and it fittinf into the literacy/english curriculum it can be great. If it's just 'read some books and we're glad we have a bit of tech that tells us reading ages' then it's not so good.
They take quizzes on the books they've read but they aren't stressful (e.g. I've had pupils use my computer to do them at the start of lessons etc whilst others do the starter).
Both my ds’s schools do AR. On the whole I am happy with it. They are told the level of books to read and if they get 100% in two tests they can move up s level. A huge number of books are levelled so it can mean that you can look up the books you have at home to see if they are roughly the right level. The books can be sorted into appropriate key stages so they have ey on the label if they are suitable for early years or my if they are suitable for middle years. We had a problem as ds3 brought home a completely inappropriate book because the school have not sorted them by age range. If your lo is reading well above their age then you would need to keep an eye on this. It is great for ds1 as he has dyslexia and can bring home books at both the appropriate age level and reading level. The tests are fairly straightforward and my ds all enjoy completing them. The system will hopefully prevent the problems I have had in the past of either the school moving ds1 too quickly up the levels or ds2 and ds3 being moved too slowly.
The secondary school where I worked with struggling readers set up AR a couple of years before I retired. It was intended to run it alongside (not instead of) the intervention for the children with reading difficulties. This was because it will do nothing to help with their problems, which stem mainly from very poor phonic knowledge and skills i.e they can't actually work out what the words 'say'.
Two things that concerned me were:
1) The allocation of books to the different 'levels' seemed entirely arbitrary and all levels would need children to have mastered phonics skills in order to read them
2) The quizzes (as with any multichoice answer based tests) are open to giving good results on pure guesswork, and, they seemed very short and superficial
I have no doubt that if it is efficiently run, with lots of enthusiasm, AR can benefit readers who are already competent, and help to engender lots of interest in reading .
It’s been shown to narrow children’s reading rather than encourage reading for pleasure and doesn’t improve accuracy or fluency.
We use it at my school. I just see it as an extra, not actual reading tuition. They quite like finding out how many words they have read and cheerfully quiz, it's certainly not a hardship.
The 'star reader' tests give them a 'range' they should choose books from. However, we use these as guidelines only- if a child wants to try a book that is higher than their range that is fine, and if (for example) they have a cold one week and are under par they can take a lower book. They can still quiz on books out of their range.
Then what’s the point of spending valuable time doing something that doesn’t teach or improve learning? The school day is short enough with so much to fit in.
Test takes 10 minutes very occasionally. It does encourage them to read and give them an idea of where to pitch their choices. It's just something that supports the school's culture of reading, one string of many in that bow.
“Reading levels should never be used to limit the texts children may access or try to read. Neither reading tests nor readability measures are anywhere near exact enough to predict which individual child will best be able to read or benefit from which individual book or magazine or online text. There is nothing wrong with letting a child try to read a text, and then abandon it if it is too hard, or too simplistic, or simply boring—after all, adults do this all the time. Limiting reading selections based on reading levels too often results in children having too few texts available to them that they want to read, and thus discourages them from reading altogether. “
My Son has just started AR I was initially quite dubious but so far it’s working out well as he is extremely motivated by the tests. He was a ‘free reader’ at the end of year 1 and has definitely gone ever so slightly backwards in book choices but his discussions around the book comprehension wise has increased massively.
He is motivated to do the quizzes he is doing around 4 a week. Book choices seem good and varied and he has done 2 star tests so far with an increase in level each time.
I guess it’s how it’s managed though
You’ve just described what people report as one problem with AR. The quizzes become the focus of the child’s interest rather than books.
For my Son it’s just become another interest. He also reads other stuff though as well reads his school books then another book over a couple of nights. It isn’t distracting from his love of reading
I think reading anything is good for children, even the ultimate goal is to answer questions.
My ds use online reading site as well. One is set by school(not AR), he reads the book chosen by the teacher to answer few questions. And other sites, more short article comprehension which he does few times a week for vocabulary and knowledge and making his own voc/info booklet.
Ds does them willingly.
He choose a book to reads to me as reading aloud homework, which we talk about afterwords, and lots of books he reads just for pleasure.
I think all of them is good in different way.
I am not fond of AR. My older children are Autistic they are excellent readers have always been beyond their age in reading levels, vocab and spelling. But they had a difficult relationship with AR, ds once he got the hang of it zoomed through the tests got 3 millionwordaire certificates, then refused to do any more tests in yr 8. Anyway as he was reading every day in the library the english teacher stopped hassling him to do the tests eventually. It was only so they could "prove" he was reading the mandated 20mins a day, when it was clear he read a couple of hours a day, often text books or the dictionary he doesn't get motivated by AR it was an irritant he had to put up with.
Dd similarly got hassled by her English teacher. She didn't quiz enough to prove she was reading. Despite her excellent reading level, comprehension, spelling and grammer. She just doesn't read that many non fiction books, she also tends to obsess about particular subjects so if her current reading obsession doesn't fit the AR schedule she won't adjust her reading she just won't do the tests. I had to insist she was taken off the requirement to participate in AR as she was getting too stressed.
AR is a tool, it should only be used to support learning not burden children who don't need to be motivated or are actively discouraged by it.
Thank you for all of the advice. It's great to hear peoples personal experiences using this program.
She did the STAR test this week, but they haven't told us about it. She said it went well.
Thanks Irvine. I have been screening what she's been reading to ensure the subject matter is appropriate. We have occasionally had problems with non-fiction books from school where the 'reading level' is appropriate, but the subject matter, usually science stuff, is beyond her.
"Grammar" my spelling is not as good as my children's
My older ones do it, smallest is still in early stages of reading so not yet for him. The big 2 are both good readers with reading ages above their age according to the tests. One likes it because they can choose from a wide variety of books and they like it a lot better than the old reading scheme. The other views it as a chore and deliberately picks simple books he knows he can get 100% on so he can move up. Just seems to me they need more flexibility! We've always said to the kids though that reading books don't matter too much and to just focus on reading for pleasure because enjoying books is what counts.
I'm not totally sure it does benefit the competent readers unless schools are completely flexible about allowing to children to choose books from whichever level they like. Especially at secondary.
Mostly because of the rather 2D way that books are levelled. It means some very complex texts get a surprisingly low book level and are then below the level of a year 9 or 10 Reader.
There is nothing wrong with letting a child try to read a text, and then abandon it if it is too hard, or too simplistic, or simply boring—after all, adults do this all the time
This, so much this, DD decided to read the BFG after not much more than a term and a half of phonics, she quickly figured out that whilst she could read most of the words she stopped because she didn't have a clue how to read all the ones that weren't in her vocabulary (a rarity as her vocabulary was far ahead of her reading skills, but obviously made up words were a struggle.)
For kids motivated by a test, it'll surely narrow the focus as they'll only pick the books that they know they'll find easy. If they're not motivated by test, but by reading, it's of no value at all, so where does it go - and a multiple choice question is absolutely nothing like an adult discussion of the themes and ideas expressed in the book - that's where the real value in reading is I'd've thought.
"For kids motivated by a test, it'll surely narrow the focus as they'll only pick the books that they know they'll find easy"
This isn't totally true, not at least in my ds's case. His online books are chosen by the teacher, and ones that he doesn't normally choose himself. I think it's actually broadening his reading.
He loves online quiz and getting it right. But to get right, he reads differently to when he reads purely for pleasure. Going over text few times, think about particular word used in text, etc.
Sure, it may not work well for everyone, but for advanced reader, I don't think it's bad at all.
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