Castle Hill Community Primary School
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Curriculum Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader

What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?

AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer – passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood what has been read. AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results which the teacher then uses to help the child set targets and ongoing reading practice.

​Children using AR have a free choice of the books they read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they feel in control and can choose books that are interesting to them. Teachers will help your child choose books that are at an appropriate reading level. These will be challenging without being frustrating and will also be at a level at which your child can pass the quiz and experience success.

In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they are reading books at their own reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all they learn and grow at their own pace.

If children receive 100% on their quiz, they will receive a stamp on their Starbooks Card. Children also receive one extra stamp for every 8,000 words they have read, for example 100% on a quiz for a book that is 24,000 words long will see a child receive 3 stamps. Once their card is full, children will be invited to Starbooks with Mrs Merritt and Mr Spurgeon, where they receive a chocolate milkshake, cookies and, most importantly, are able to choose a free book to keep from our collection!

How much will my child read during the school day?
According to Renaissance Learning’s research, children who read at least 15 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Therefore, at Castle Hill, we strive to give children an average of 15 minutes of reading per day, this may occur during their Reading lessons, Early Morning time or after lunch. Class teachers will also read other high-quality, carefully-selected texts to your children at particular times during the school day.


How can I help my child become a better reader?
As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encouraging your child to read at home is essential, as is hearing them read. When reading with your child stop and ask questions to be sure your child comprehends what they have read and in general make a habit of discussing books that each of you has read.


How does the school determine my child’s reading level?
Teachers determine your child’s reading level at Castle Hill by using a STAR Reading test. STAR Reading is a computer-based reading assessment program that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 20 minutes. Children are then given a ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development), which determines their reading level. Children are encouraged to select books from the “higher-end” of their ZPD to challenge themselves.


What is a Book Level?
Book Levels are reported using the ATOS readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. For example, a book level of 4.5 means that the text could likely be read by a pupil whose reading skills are at the level of a typical year five pupil. Books are chosen based on the ZPD range recommended for each pupil by STAR Reading and monitored by every class teacher weekly.


What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?
In independent literature-based reading, ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD range after taking a STAR Reading test or teachers can use their best professional judgement to determine a ZPD. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within his/her ZPD. ZPDs should be adjusted based on the needs and ability of your child.


How many Accelerated Reader quizzes are there?
There are over 11,000 AR quizzes available and more being written every month.


How will I know if a book has an AR quiz?
You can also visit the AR BookFinder at to conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes – this way children can read a book from home and if it has a quiz, they can complete it in school.


How can I help my child find books that are interesting to them?
Visit and click on Advanced Search. By conducting an advanced search, you will be able to generate book lists that contain titles based on the criteria you enter such as Book Level, Topic, Interest Level and Fiction/Non-fiction, etc.​


​If you need any assistance with your child’s reading or would like to know more about Accelerated Reader, please don’t hesitate to speak with your child’s class teacher or Mr Spurgeon, our English Leader.