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The Accelerated Reader Program (page 2)

— Institute of Educational Sciences
Updated on Jan 11, 2010

Developer and contact

Developed by Judi and Terry Paul, Accelerated Reader is distributed by Renaissance Learning, Inc. Address: PO Box 8036, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495-8036, USA. Email: answers@renlearn.com. Web: www.renlearn.com/ar/. Telephone: (800) 338-4204.

Scope of use

The Accelerated Reader software prototype was created in 1984. Accelerated Reader Best Classroom Practices (formerly called Reading Renaissance) was first introduced to educators in 1996 through professional development seminars. According to the developers, more than 63,000 schools nationwide are using Accelerated Reader and Renaissance Learning’s other reading programs in a wide variety of academic settings.

Teaching

A primary best practice recommendation for use of Accelerated Reader is a dedicated 30–60 minute block of time for reading practice. Depending on the ages and skill levels of the students, three activities may occur during a reading block: reading texts to a child, reading texts to a child using a paired-reading technique, or independent reading by the child. As children develop decoding skills, they transition to guided independent reading. Initially, students take a norm-referenced, standardized measure of general reading achievement to determine their independent reading level—the level at which books are neither too easy nor too difficult and students are able to read without frustration. Then students select books within a recommended readability range to read independently. After reading each book, students take a comprehension quiz and earn points based on the number of correct responses, the length of the book, and the readability level of the book. Teachers use data from the quizzes to monitor student progress, adjust students’ reading ranges, or identify students who may need more targeted interventions. Teachers use points to set individual student goals for the quantity and quality of student reading practice and to monitor the student’s progress. Accumulation of points is intended to motivate student learning; teachers also may choose to implement a system of rewards, though Renaissance Learning does not recommend or require the use of extrinsic rewards.

Cost

The school version of Accelerated Reader software can be ordered for $4 a student per year, with a one-time school fee of $1,599. Professional development to learn Accelerated Reader Best Classroom Practices is available at additional cost and can be customized in terms of length and mode of delivery (onsite, telephone/online, regional seminars). The average annual cost of full implementation, which varies depending on the school size and components implemented, ranges from $2,000 to $10,000 per school year.

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