This page gives more information on our reading program called Accelerated Reader. If any questions cannot be answered here, feel free to email, call or speak to us and I am sure we can help.
Home Connect allows parents and carers to view their child's Accelerated Reader record. It will show the books read and the scores achieved for each quiz alongside other useful information.
The web address is specific to the school but all parents will need their own child's login details.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader works using ATOS book levelling. This is a formula that assesses the readability of a text. ATOS takes into account the most important predictors of text complexity—average sentence length, average word length, and word difficulty level.
Each book that has been assessed is given a number with a decimal place, e.g. 1.9; 3.4; 4.8. This is the book level and the higher the number, the harder the text is to read. Your child will need to choose a book with an ATOS level that is at the right level for them. If the level is too low, they will find it easy to read. A book at a lower level can still be read and enjoyed, but is unlikely to help them progress in their reading. A book with a level that is too high is likely to be challenging which could affect their understanding and enjoyment of a text.
So, to choose a text that will be at the right level, children are given a range of book levels to choose from. This is called the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). It is just the lowest level they could read and then the highest. For example, if your child has a ZPD of 1.8 – 2.4, they can read a book that has a book level of 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 or 2.4.
They will be able to choose from a range of books in school, most of which have been written for the purpose of enjoyment and are not written for the book scheme. Please note though that the ATOS score gives the readability of the words contained within the book. It means that a picture book, created to be read by parents with their children could have a higher book level score than a novel aimed at older children because the words in the picture book are considered harder to read.
It is fair to say that there will be some outliers – books that don’t seem appropriate for your child’s reading ability. However, children are free to choose any book within their ZPD (the range that is considered best for them) and can happily choose a different book.
Because there is sometimes a disconnect between the readability of a text and its subject matter, each book is also given an interest level. These are
- LY (Lower Years, Ages 5–8)
- MY (Middle Years, Ages 9–13)
- UY (Upper Years, Ages 14 and above)
Despite what their ATOS book level may be, the content of the book may not be appropriate for your child. A book covering themes that children aged 9-13 may enjoy will not be appropriate for a child in Year 2, even if they are able to read it.
A majority of the books in our school are for Lower Years but we will have some that are appropriate for Year 4 and have an interest level of Middle Years (MY). We do try and check the interest level of books before they are sent home, but please do also check the label on the front to check that it is appropriate for the age of your child. If you feel that it is not, we will happily swap it for one that is.
How do I know my child’s CPD?
Your child will regularly take an online reading test in school called a STAR reader test. This has been developed by the same team as the Accelerated Reader scheme. After completing the test, the program analyses their answers and provides us with the ZPD. These are then shared with children and families so that you know the books that they can choose.
Choosing a book to read
Children will of course be taking a book home from school but they can also choose to read a book from home if it is the correct book level. Accelerated Reader have a large catalogue of books that have been assessed for their ATOS level and can be found at:
The site allows you to search for a book that you already own and find its ATOS book level. The advanced search will also let you search under other criteria which means that you can search out some appropriate books that you might like to buy or borrow from the library. For example, you can choose to search for books in your ZPD by a specific author that you have enjoyed before.
One of the biggest benefits of Accelerated Reader is the online quizzes. After finishing a book, children will take an online quiz in school. They will be asked a series of questions about the book that they have completed and this is best done within 48 hours. Once your child has finished a book, please encourage them to remember to ask for a quiz in school when they first come in.
The information from the quizzes are collected by the program and can be analysed by the class teacher. This means that we can track how well your child is doing with the quizzes. A child is expected to score above 80% in a quiz and if they are consistently below this, it will alert us to consider what other issues could be having an effect.
Children will be reassessed throughout the year and will have their ZPD adjusted as needed. If a child is finding the books very simple, they need to choose books at the upper end of their ZPD. If they are still finding them easy, and teachers confirm that they are scoring highly in the quizzes, we can extend their ZPD to open up more texts to them.