Until the end of this academic year, all Year 7, 8 and 9 students will be enrolled in the Accelerated Reader programme.
Your child will have up to 45 minutes per fortnight dedicated to this programme, with the aim of increasing their enjoyment of and engagement with reading. This time will be allocated through the English Department and will be taught by English subject specialists.
For your information, Accelerated Reader is a software tool that assesses a student’s reading level, suggests titles of books at that level, and then assesses whether a student has completed reading the book by asking a series of questions; it then gives immediate feedback to students about their success. The Accelerated Reader programme has proved to be very successful in developing reading skills and raising standards in literacy.
Your child will take their final diagnostic STAR reading test during the summer term, and this will give them a Reading Age and Book Level to guide them to texts suited to their abilities. They will then choose, read and answer questions on and reflect on their book. Your child will have been STAR three times during the year.
The aim of the programme is to promote a lifelong love of reading in every student, regardless of their ability. It is also designed to do the following:
- make essential reading practice more effective for every student, motivating them to read, and enjoy their reading, through discussion and reflection on their reading
- personalise reading practice to each pupil’s current level and assess pupils’ reading skills through fun quizzes, allowing teachers to set specific, personalised targets to monitor and maintain progress
- encourage readers through immediate outcome response, clear success indicators and rewards
- encourage engagement with texts and retention of learning
- allow time for pupils to develop their focus and concentration and improve their reading skills;
- accelerate reading growth (progress) by a whole year
Ideally, a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes a day should be spent reading independently so if you can promote this at home, that would be greatly appreciated.
We hope that your child is excited by and finds a great deal of pleasure in participating in the Accelerated Reader programme at Beacon High.
My child prefers non-fiction to fiction. Does this matter?
No, there will be many non-fiction books in the library which are part of the scheme and are being chosen to complement what your child is studying in other curricular areas. Encourage your child to take out books linked to a current topic being studied in another subject. They can then take a quiz on this book during their English lesson.
My child is a reluctant reader. What can I do?
Take an interest in what your child is reading. Make sure you have lots of books and magazines around the house and show your child how to access eBooks. Think about swapping the games console for a Kindle or e-reader! Try to incorporate whole family ‘reading time’ into the daily routine.
When should I stop reading to my child?
Never! Listening to others reading aloud encourages children to read with fluency and expression themselves.
How do I know what level my child is?
Ask your child for his or her STAR reading report. This gives lots of vital information. If he or she has lost it, please contact the school for a replacement.
How do we find a book of the correct level for my child?
Let your child check out the AR Bookfinder website. All they’ll need to know is their book level or they can ask the librarian for help.
My child says that they can’t find a book they like. What do you suggest?
First, ask the librarian which the most popular books are for their age and reading ability. Secondly, look at the ‘Recommended Reads’ board in the LRC. These are books recommended by students by students. With thousands of books to choose from, it is very unlikely that there will be nothing of interest to them.
Does it matter if we choose a book of the wrong level?
This very much depends if your child is enjoying what he or she is reading! If they are, let them carry on. If you see your child struggling, not getting past the first few pages, it might well be too hard for them. Be guided rather than restricted by their book level.
How long should my child be reading each day?
Ideally, a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes a day.
How else can parents help?
Mainly by ensuring that their children are bringing a reading book into school every day, not just when they have English. Also, remember that reading is an on-going and integral and part of their English and Accelerated Reader programme. If in doubt, please contact your child’s English teacher.