Accelerated Reader

What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?

AR is a computer program that helps teachers, key support staff and the librarian manage and monitor students’ independent reading practice. A student will select a book at his or her own level and then read at their own pace. On completion, the student takes a short online quiz to evidence their comprehension of the text. AR gives students and staff feedback based on the quiz result which is then used by the teacher to set the student goals and direct on-going reading practice. Students are rewarded for achieving various reading goals such as passing quizzes and hitting termly points targets.

Teachers and the librarian help students choose books at an appropriate reading level that are challenging without being frustrating to ensure a successful outcome. Students reading books at their own level and pace means that they really enjoy taking the quizzes. Commbeshead Academy uses AR Home Connect so that parents can see how their child is doing. The school is also trialling (December 2019) allowing students to quiz from home and at weekends. Students in Years 7 & 8 participate in the Accelerated Reader scheme (alongside selected older students). This guide is designed to tell you more about the scheme in a question and answer format.

How much should my child read each day?

According to research, children who read for at least 35 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Therefore, in a perfect world, every child should have at least 35 minutes set aside for reading every day. All Year 7 and 8 students have a 30-minute reading slot in the school day known as Drop And Read (D&R). In addition, Years 7 and 8 students have a fortnightly 1 hour reading lesson in the LRC supported by English staff and the Librarian.

How can I help my child become a better reader?

Encourage them to read at home every day, just 15 minutes before bed will make a difference. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with them, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookshop on a regular basis, letting them see you reading, and discussing books that each of you has read. When reading with them, stop and ask questions to be sure they comprehend what is being read. Reading with them, no matter what their age, is an important part of developing a good reader, building a lifelong love of reading and learning, and creating a bond between you and them. Ask them about their progress with AR and the books they are reading. The school planner contains a section to record AR progress.

What happens if a student does not do well on their book quizzes?

If a student does not do well on a quiz the teacher, supporting member of staff or librarian may help them by:

  1. helping them choose another more appropriate book

  2. ask more probing questions as they read

  3. arrange for additional literacy support/involve the SEND team*

  4. pair them with another student, or even have the book read to them

* ln a few cases. students may benefit from time off the scheme to work on reading skills before free reading occurs.

What if a student does not like reading?

Using Accelerated Reader, students will choose the books they went to read from the selection within a range. At Coombeshead, we have around 7,000 fiction books to choose from so everyone should be able to find a book they will enjoy. The Teacher and Librarian will ensure the book is at the right level so that, after completing the book, a student should do well on the AR Reading Practice Quiz. Success in the quiz will encourage them to read more.

Will a student have to read a book they do not want to read?

No. There are many choices of books at every student’s level. They will never be forced to read a book parents find questionable. The librarian regularly advises students on the age suitability of books at the point of loan.

I am concerned that my child will be unfairly compared to others

AR helps the teacher and Librarian work with each student individually. Students are encouraged to progress at their own pace and work towards individualised goals with the help of the teacher. The aim of AR is for all students to succeed in achieving their personal goals and not to worry about others.

How does the school determine my child's reading level (known as Reading Range or ZPD)? 

The school determines a student’s level through STAR ReadingTM tests which are carried out four times a year. The first tests are carried out in September and once these Reading Ranges are recorded in their planners the students are free to select books and get reading! In independent literature-based reading, the ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a student without causing frustration or loss of motivation. It is important for students to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPDs. At the end of each term, a further STAR test is carried out which should show an increase in the child’s reading level (as long as they have been engaging in sufficient reading at the right book level).

What is a STAR reading test? 

STAR Reading is a computerised reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to student’s responses. If the student’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If a question is missed, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 30 minutes.

What is a book level?

Book levels represent the difficulty of the text within a book. At Coombeshead, all books that can be read within the AR scheme, have colour-coded labels on their spines and the actual book level is shown. For example. our emergent reads at level 1-1.9 have green labels on their spines. Many classics are at the top end of the book level scale so have brown or AR logo labels on their spines representing book level 6+.

What are points in the AR scheme? 

Every book that has an AR Reading Practice Quiz is given a points value. AR points are computed based on the difficulty of the book level and the length of the book (number of words). Students earn points, or a portion of a book’s points, depending on how well they do on the Reading Practice Quiz. For example, a student who takes a 5 question quiz on a book worth 1 point will earn 1 point for 5 correct answers (100%), 0.8 for 4 correct answers (80%), etc. A student who reads a book worth 5 points and takes a 10 question quiz will earn 5 points for 10 correct answers (100%), 4.5 points for 9 correct answers (9), etc. For quizzes with 3, 5 or 10 questions, students need to pass a quiz with a score of 60% or higher to earn points. For quizzes with 20 questions, they need to pass with a score of 70% or higher to earn points.

What are AR Points Targets? 

The results of the STAR tests determines the Target number of points we ask students to work towards each term. Monitoring students’ AR points and comparing them to the guideline values enables the teacher and Librarian to determine how well individual students are using the time provided for reading practice.

How many Accelerated Reader quizzes are there? 

There are over 156,000 AR quizzes available with more books having quizzes written for them all the time. If a book does not have an AR quiz then, unfortunately, the student cannot quiz and pick up points for this title. There are quizzes on both fiction and non-fiction titles. We suggest non AR books are kept for holiday so students make the expected progress on AR!

How do students know if a book is on AR (has a quiz available)?

In the LRC, any book that has a coloured label on the spine is on the AR scheme. In addition, students/parents/teachers can also visit the AR BookfinderTM website at to conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes. This is the way to check if books from outside school are on AR.

How can I help my child find books that are interesting to him/her? 

You could visit Book Finder and click on the Advanced Search. By conducting an advanced search, you can generate book lists that contain titles based on the criteria you enter such as book level, topic, interest level, fiction/nonfiction, etc. Alternatively, the LRC staff can help find books.

Book Finder

My child already does well with their reading. Why does he/she need this?

Even if a child is gifted at playing a musical instrument, they need to practise to develop their talent. Bright children, like all children, need to be challenged. Teachers using AR software find it easy to guide students to books that give them challenge and success. The AR scheme improves students’ reading up until a reading age of 16 is reached.

My child is not a strong reader. Can he/she still use Accelerated Reader? 

Accelerated Reader helps all children become better readers, from students with special needs to those who are gifted and talented. When they read books at an appropriate level, they experience success. Furthermore, teachers and the Librarian will work with students to set appropriate goals based on each individual’s reading level.

Click here to check if books are on AR

We hope this guide has answered many of your questions about how we run the Accelerated Reader at Coombeshead Academy.

If you have additional questions please feel free to contact Mrs. Morley (Librarian) or your child’s English teacher or visit the Accelerated Reader website (links below):  hilary.morley@coombesheadacademy Accelerated Reader

100 books to read before you leave secondary school

  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell 
  • Lord of the Flies – William Golding 
  • Lord of the Flies – William Golding 
  • Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  • The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling 
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens 
  • The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger 
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 
  • Price and Prejudice – Jane Austen 
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon 
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne 
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley 
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley 
  • Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks 
  • A Kestrel For a Knave – Barry Hines 
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • Danny, Champion of the World – Roald Dahl 
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak 
  • The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini 
  • A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess 
  • A Passage to India – E.M. Forster 
  • Private Peaceful – Michael Morpurgo 
  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness 
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain 
  • Holes – Louis Sachar 
  • Catch-22 – Joseph Heller 
  • The Noughts and Crosses trilogy – Malorie Blackman 
  • Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr.Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • War Horse – Michael Morpurgo 
  • Atonement – Ian McEwan 
  • The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins 
  • His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman
  • Dracula – Bram Stoker 
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury 
  • A Room With a View – E.M. Forster 
  • Beloved – Toni Morrison 
  • Wonder – R.J. Palacio 
  • Emma – Jane Austen 
  • Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift 
  • Half a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngoxi Adichie 
  • The Colour Purple – Alice Walker 
  • Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens 
  • The Sherlock Holmes series – Arthur Conan Doyle 
  • Cider With Rosie – Laurie Lee
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey 
  • Anita and Me – Meera Syal
  • The Discworld series – Terry Pratchett 
  • Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne 
  • Skellig – David Almond 
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel 
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy 
  • The Artemis Fowl series – Eoin Colfer 
  • A Modest Proposal – Jonathan Swift 
  • My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell 
  • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe 
  • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe 
  • Brighton Rock – Graham Greene 
  • Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  • Dubliners – James Joyce 
  • Face – Benjamin Zephaniah 
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit – Judith Kerr 
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith 
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson 
  • Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton 
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott 
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick 
  • I am David – Anne Holm
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde 
  • V for Vendetta – Alan Moore and David Lloyd 
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire series – George R.R. Martin 
  • The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway 
  • Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging – Louise Rennison 
  • Empire of the Sun – J.G. Ballard
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac 
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy 
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce 
  • Billy Liar – Keith Waterhouse 
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain 
  • A Gathering Light – Jennifer Donnelly
  • Heroes – Robert Cormier 
  • Refugee Boy – Benjamin Zephaniah 
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 
  • Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  • Coram Boy – Jamila Gavin
  • Forever – Judy Blume 
  • Stone Cold – Robert Swindells 
  • A Time to Dance – Bernard MacLaverty 
  • Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood 
  • Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 
  • The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells 
  • The Tracy Beaker series – Jacqueline Wilson 
  • Bridge to Trebithia – Katherine Paterson 
  • Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Time Machine – H.G.Wells
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