Accelerated Reader: Go for the “Goal” in the Peabody Reading Olympics!

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.13.46 PMThe Winter Olympics are coming up in a few months, so AR is going to take on an Olympics theme at Peabody this year! Accelerated Reader (AR) will go live at Peabody on Tuesday, September 10, following the AR Opening Ceremonies that afternoon.  The rest of that week, our school-wide goal will be to get every student to take at least one quiz to get everyone out of the starting gate at the same time. So encourage your child to train their brain with reading and go for their (AR) goals all year long!

Below is a parent’s guide to AR, so you can help your child truly become a champion reader! (Prizes are listed toward the bottom.)

AR Quick Links:

Home Connect Website
AR BookFinder™

AR is an online reading improvement initiative funded by the Peabody PTA and supported by the Peabody faculty and by YOU! Your child can read a book, then take a quiz on the book to assess how well they understood it, and earn points toward prizes and recognition!

READING LEVEL

Your child will receive an initial grade level assessment at school, conducted by our librarian, Mr. Malone. This will help you and your child’s teacher know what level books are appropriate for your child to be reading. Keep in mind that many children will read either above or below their actual grade level and the best way to help these students progress is to give them books that are on their level but are still interesting to the student. The reading lists at the end can provide ideas.

QUIZZES

Throughout the school year, your child will take comprehension quizzes about AR-approved books. Quizzes for shorter books generally have five multiple-choice questions, while longer books have more. You’ll know your child is reading books in his sweet spot when he is averaging 85%-90% correct on AR quizzes. You can check to see how your child is doing by logging on to the Home Connect website with your child’s AR login information, which his teacher should provide to you.

AR quizzes can only be taken at school. Your child cannot do these quizzes at home. The library will be open after school on Mondays and Thursdays until 3:45 for extra quizzing time, but students must be accompanied by an adult. Please sign in at the office before going to the library with your child.

accreaderBOOKS

Any book that has an AR quiz associated with it counts (and there are LOTS — both fiction and non-fiction). You can visit the AR BookFinder™ at www.arbookfind.com to conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes. Your child can get AR books from home, the Peabody Elementary library, the public library or even his classroom. They can quiz on books they read alone, that you read to them, or a combination of the two. They can even take quizzes on books they read over the summer, as long as they think they can remember enough to answer the questions on the quiz. Books from the Peabody library will be labeled with information about the reading level, point value of the book and quiz #, but this info can also be looked up on the AR BookFinder™ for all other books.

POINTS

Every book that has an AR Reading Practice Quiz is given a point value. AR points are based on the difficulty of the book and the length of the book. For example, the Berenstain Bears books, which are about 1,000 words long and have an average level of 3.5, are 0.5-point books (which is the minimum point value for any book). Hank the Cowdog, which is about 23,000 words long and has a book level of 4.5, is a 3-point book. Children earn points, or a portion of a book’s points, depending on how well they do on the Reading Practice Quiz. If the point value is not labeled on a book, you can look it up on the AR BookFinder.

Each student will set an AR points goal for each quarter, along with their teacher. This goal should be challenging, but not impossible to reach. If you, as a parent, think that your child’s goal is too hard or too easy, talk with your teacher about it.

prizesPRIZES!

Ultimately, we want kids to see reading as its own reward, but let’s face it — sometimes we all need a little motivation to get started. And who knows, in the process of trying to win a prize, your child might just discover a passion for reading that will last a lifetime!

We’ve tried to create a good mix of incentives that will reward both students who meet their own personal goals, and students who excel at each grade level. You can remind students that even kids who don’t have the most points will be eligible for prizes and recognition, so they should focus on doing their own best. Also, the quarterly awards are for that quarter’s points only, so if they get behind in one quarter, they get a fresh start the next.

  • AR Store – At the end of each 9 weeks, students will be allowed to visit the AR store to purchase small prizes with their AR points.

  • Quarterly Recognition & Prizes – All students who meet their quarterly AR goals will be presented with a certificate at honors assemblies. 1st, 2nd & 3rd place point earners in each grade for that quarter will receive plastic medals, and 1st place winners in each grade will also get a $10 gift card. In addition, names of all students who met their quarterly goals will go into a drawing for two $10 gift cards.

  • Mini-Challenges – We will have three short-term Mini-Challenges, and all participants who attain a certain number of points during a given time time period will be entered into the prize drawing. This year’s mini-challenge dates and point requirements are:

    • Fall Break – earn 5 points (KK=read 5 books) between 10/5/13 and 10/17/13

    • Winter Break – earn 10 points (KK=read 10 books) between 12/21/13 and 1/16/13

    • Spring Break – earn 5 points (KK=read 5 books) between 3/8/13 and 3/20/13

  • Year-End Prizes for Points Leaders – At the end of the year (5/9/13 will be last day AR points will count toward year-end totals), engraved medals will be awarded to the top three point-earners in the entire school, along with a $50 gift card for 1st place, a $40 gift card for 2nd place and a $30 gift card for 3rd place.

  • Year-End “Big Ten” Gift Card Drawing – At the end of the year (5/9/13 will be last day AR points will count toward year-end totals), we will hold a drawing for 10 $10 gift cards. For every 10 points a student has earned during the year, their name will be entered into this drawing once. A student can only win one of these gift cards, even if their name is drawn more than once.

You can check your child’s progress online via the Home Connect website (use your child’s AR login information to access this). There is also an AR bulletin board next to the library where students who are meeting their goals and those who are points leaders will be recognized.

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR CHILD SUCCEED?

Your main job is just to make sure your child is reading at home, ideally at least 30 minutes a day. Students go to the Peabody library weekly and should be bringing their book home, but they don’t have to limit their reading or quiz-taking to books that come from the Peabody library — you can help them find books at home or at the public library to read. Or, you can encourage them to check out their classroom library — most teachers have a good selection of books that kids can borrow. As long as the book shows up in the AR BookFinder, it counts!  If your child reads a book that’s not labeled with the AR codes, you can just send him with the correct AR# as listed on the website or send the correct book title and the child can look up the quiz by title at school.

Your child can even take tests on books you read together, whether they read aloud to you or vice versa. Even older children benefit greatly from being read to — it often allows them to be exposed to literature that is beyond their ability to read on their own. So, read with your child at home and then let him take the test on his own at school — you’ll be amazed at how well your child was listening to you (for once!).

While your child will be given some time in class to take AR quizzes, if they need extra time, you can bring them to the Peabody library after school on Mondays and Thursdays until 3:45 to use the computers in there to quiz. Please sign in at the office first. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

TIPS FOR IMPROVED READING COMPREHENSION

When reading to your child, use character voices, talk about pictures, and try not to read too quickly. She will be tested for comprehension in the AR program, so all of these practices help with comprehension.

If your child is reading independently, you may want to ask a few questions about the book to see if your child read for understanding….or just zipped through it!

ADDITIONAL READING RESOURCES

7 Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers

Management Strategies for Reading (for struggling readers)

How Do I Help a Struggling Reader?

Read-Aloud and Read-Alone Grade Level Reading Lists (book recommendations)

Favorite Series Books

Summer Reading Lists (by grade level)

Go, Peabody Eagles!  Accelerate your reading!

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