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The Accelerated Reader and Reading Renaissance Programs are an important part of our reading instruction. For those of you who are new to the program, this explanation should prove helpful. For those of you familiar with this program please read the information as we are excited to make new changes to better meet student needs this year.
During the first few weeks of school teachers use various assessments and student conferences to provide your child with an individualized reading level (Zone of Proximal Development—ZPD). This level is fluid and will change throughout the year. Your child’s teacher explains that reading zone to your child and assigns a range of book levels for your child to read. By providing each child with an individual reading level, our teachers can ensure that the material each child is reading is appropriately challenging without being too difficult or too easy.
When selecting one of Accelerated Reader books available at Ridgewood Elementary, your child is able to identify the books on his/her level by looking at the color on the spine label for each book, and by looking at the reading level listed on a label inside the front cover. For example, if your child needs a book in a reading range of 4.3-5.5, the first step is to find a book with a green or blue stripe and then check the AR label to make sure the book level is between 4.3 and 5.5 (4.3 equates to a reading level of fourth grade, third month). Teachers will work with your child to build confidence and stamina in reading. We are focusing on intrinsic rewards and helping students realize the importance of reading.
After your child reads the Accelerated Reader book, he/she can take a computerized quiz containing between five and twenty questions. The child may not use the book for the testing. If your child passes the quiz, he/she will earn points based on the length and difficulty of the book. Each time a test is taken, your child will receive a TOPS report. This report tells the teacher and the parent how the child scored on the book. If the book is on an appropriately challenging level, the percent correct should be between 85 and 92. If your child is consistently scoring below 85, either the books are too difficult, or your child is not reading carefully enough. If your child is consistently scoring above 92, the books are too easy, and your child’s teacher will increase the reading range for your child.
We would also like to stress the importance of reading for enjoyment. Your child may be interested in books well below or above their reading level and it is important to support that interest in order to create lifelong readers. We, at Ridgewood, make sure students are comprehending their reading through AR but we also want to cultivate authentic readers through reading for enjoyment, interest and information.