Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How to Implement Accelerated Reader in Your School or Classroom

Does your school have the Accelerated Reader Program, but you wish it could be utilized more effectively?  You may want to try some of the ideas I have implemented at my school and in my classroom.   More than 100 students read Accelerated Reader books and take the corresponding tests in the Computer Lab during our after school reading program.  Students are continually reading and taking tests throughout the day in my classroom.  Here is how I started...

Teachers and parents volunteered their time labeling our library and classroom Accelerated Reader books. Rather than just using colored dots, our books are color-coded using Avery labels (e.g. red for first grade, purple for second grade, yellow for third grade) AND have the actual book levels clearly marked (e.g. 4.5, 4.6, 4.7). 

The point labels are displayed right below the book labels on the spines of the books. I used fluorescent labels so that they can be easily seen and to help differentiate between Accelerated Reader books in the school library (green), classroom library (pink), and core literature sets (yellow). Clear labels were put on top of the book level and point labels to keep them secure.

During the after school reading program, parents help students check out Accelerated Reader books in the library.  After the students have taken their Accelerated Reader tests on the computer, teachers write the new book levels on slips of paper. If the student received 80% on an Accelerated Reader book with a 3.5 book level, the student chooses a new book with a 3.5 book level. If the student received more than 80% correct on an Accelerated Reader test, the student may choose a new Accelerated Reader book with a 3.6, 3.7, or 3.8 book level. If the student received less than 80% correct on an Accelerated Reader test, the student may choose a new Accelerated Reader book with a 3.4, 3.3, or 3.2 book level.

Kindergarten and first grade students are read “The Story of the Day” by upper grade student helpers. The student helpers read the questions to the students and help them take the Accelerated Reader tests on the computers.

Parents are invited to our monthly awards ceremony. Prizes are given to the students who made it to the 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, and 100 Point Clubs. Trophies are given to the top three students in each grade at the end of the year.

I have also created an Accelerated Reader accountability system for my own classroom. Students are given one ticket if they have passed an Accelerated Reader test with 60% - 90% accuracy. They receive two tickets if they received 100% on their test. At the end of the month, students write their names on each ticket and put them in various prize containers. One ticket is pulled from each of the containers and that particular prize is given to the student.

Our successful Accelerated Reader Program almost came to an end because our computers kept crashing. I was in charge of a group of teachers who wrote a grant to the Golden State Foods Foundation. We received $49,000 for 32 brand-new flatscreen Apple computers.

Feel free to email me at if you have any questions about setting up your own Accelerated Reader Program or if you would like to know more about the Golden State Foods Foundation grants.

Wishing you the best,

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