Friday, July 1, 2011

Accelerated Reader Frenzy!

Most schools that I know of promote using the Accelerated Reader (AR) program with the kids.  Some teachers make it mandatory to participate.  I've never really been one to push AR with my students.  In fact I never really made an effort to encourage my students to participate until they were reading an AR level 10 or 12 before this year.

This past year a teacher on my grade level said she made AR a center every week during Guided Reading.  It was one less center for her to think about.  When I was in a jam one week I decided to give it a try.  I checked out a basket full of AR books of varying levels to accommodate the different readers in my class.  I wasn't surprised that they were excited about it when I first introduced it.  They are usually pretty pumped about anything new, especially when it's presented in an exciting way.

My rules for the AR center were 1) Read the book at least 2 times.  2)  Fill out an AR Ticket before taking the test. My AR tickets helped me to keep track of who was reading what and how they were doing with the comprehension skills as assessed through the AR tests.  It also required my students to practice identifying the tite, author and illustrator of the book.  Click on the picture below to get a copy of my AR ticket.

I kept a basket next to the computer where students could turn in their completed AR tickets.
My fear for this center was that if we did it every week, the kids would grow tired of it and lose interest and we all know what happens when they lose interest!  Off task, goofing off, etc.  So I decided to make it a challenge for the students.  From time to time I would go through the basket and check up on my students.  They did not receive grades for AR tests, but the Tickets certainly gave me a quick informal assessment of their reading comprehension levels.  Any test scoring below an 80% was marked and returned to the student.  I went back into the program, erased the score, and gave them a second chance to reread the book and retake the test.  Then I made a chart on which I recorded any test the student scored 100% .  If a student earned 10 100% AR tests, he/she received a certificate to the 100% club and a trip to the treasure box.  (I got some really cute certificates at the Dollar Tree.)  They were very excited about this!  They were even really excited each time I changed out the basket of books with new titles.

By the end of the year I had 2 students who earned over 40 100% AR Tests!  You should have seen my students' faces when I announced how many they had earned.

If you're looking to get your students interested and motivated with AR, try this!  It's not really pressuring them into taking the tests, but it does  encourage them to do the tests and focus on reading comprehension.  It also rewards students who put forth the effort and the choice is still theirs.  Some challenge themselves with harder books and take several in one day.  Others may just take their time with 1.  Still a good way to start.


  1. Our school celebrates AR school wide. Each classroom does things a little different depending on their teacher. Some classrooms offer AR sleepovers at the end of the year for reaching their goal with many little goals through out the year. Our computer tech started reading all 100 percents on the news in order to give them a shoutout- Imagine how many shout outs with 1000 kids in the school! We pass out a "wrangler reward" for every 100 percent they receive. These slips go into a K-2 or 3-5 container in media center with all the other regular wrangler rewards and our Adm pulls out 5 or 10 slips every Friday on our school wide news. Coworker and I would go to our local library and check out 40 books (for 36 kids) and we let the kids read and take quizzes on these but the books could not go home. Many of our kids love it and some of our struggling kids even get involved and rise to the challenge.

    Primary Connections

  2. LOVE these tickets! I'm SO using them next year!

    3rd Grade Gridiron

  3. My old school was really into AR... and had all the books in the library labeled, etc. My new school does not have as many licenses, so unfortunately Kindergarten usually gets "bumped" out--even though I have lots of readers who would love it!

    This year we got class licenses to Raz-kids. My kiddos loved it too! I think anything that encourages kids with reading and has a comprehension check--always pays dividends!!!
    Have fun!
    Karen :o)
    Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten

  4. Love it! Thanks for sharing! I recently got this great idea from Cindy at Sweet Time in 1st Grade. It is about displaying her children's AR tests; I love it!


  5. I just love this! We use AR and it's always hard to know whether they really are ready to take the test yet - I like that this gives them a little more accountablility. Thanks for sharing!
    First Class With Mrs. Mac

  6. AR is HUGE at my school. Students earn prizes for each 5 points they earn. I use AR as a center and I've never had problems. The kids love taking AR tests. When students in my class earn 100 or more points they get to eat lunch with me in the classroom once a week.

  7. I wanted to add that I have written 2 grants to purchase AR books (and storage) for my grade level. We have plenty of books to choose from so reaching 100 points is very possible for them. I delete all tests under 80% so my class knows it is a waste of their time to take a test without really reading a book. I don't have many problems with accountability. I LOVE AR!

  8. Thanks for sharing the AR tickets. I love hearing new ideas on how everyone organizes and manages AR. My school did not have enough licenses last year for all of first grade to have AR. Fortunately, our PTO was able to buy licenses for the first grade classrooms who wanted it!

  9. Thanks for the feedback, y'all! I tried to reply earlier this week but had issues with posting comments on blogger.

    At our school our library has been wonderful at stocking up on AR books and leveling them all with colored dots on the spine of the book. Since they're really into AR they have the licenses to tons of tests and add on more every year. They do a monthly prize of AR dog tags on a necklace for students for earning 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. AR points.

    @Amanda and Cindy - Love the AR tree! I actually have a "Compliment Tree" in my classroom. Students get a leaf with their name on it. For every compliment they get a sticker. 10 stickers earns a trip to the treasure box. It's also a quick way to motivate students as a whole to get back on track when you randomly give compliment stickers for good work habits or behaviors such as "being on task".

    @Karen - What is RazKids?! I've never heard of that one before!


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