AR is an online reading improvement program funded by the Peabody PTA and supported by the Peabody teachers and by YOU! Your child can read a book, then take a quiz at school on it to assess how well they understood it. Points earned from the quizzes count toward prizes and recognition!
Who is AR for?
All students in 1st-5th grade will have AR accounts. Kindergarteners who begin reading independently will be added to AR by their teachers (feel free to ask your child’s teacher if you think he/she is ready).
Below is a parent’s guide to AR, so you can help your child become a great reader! (Prizes are listed toward the bottom.)
AR Quick Links:
Your child will receive an initial grade level assessment at school. 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.
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 can provide to you.
AR quizzes can only be taken at school. Your child cannot do these quizzes at home.
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.
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.
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!
Remind your child 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 – PTA will run quarterly AR stores where students can “spend” their points on small toys and books
- Quarterly Recognition & Prizes – All students who meet their quarterly AR goals will be recognized at honors assemblies and on the AR bulletin board. 1st, 2nd & 3rd place point earners in each grade for that quarter will receive recognition, and 1st place winners in each grade will also get a $10 gift card from our adopter, Burke’s Bookstore. In addition, names of all students who met their quarterly goals will go into a drawing for two $10 Burke’s gift cards. Lots of chances to be recognized for strong effort!
- Mini-Challenges – Contingent upon being able to round up incentives, we will have three short-term Mini-Challenges, in which all participants who earn a certain number of points during Fall, Spring & Winter Breaks will be entered into the prize drawing.
- Year-End Prizes for Points Leaders – At the end of the year (5/11/16 will be last day AR points will count toward year-end totals), engraved trophies will be awarded to the top three point-earners in the entire school, along with a $50 Burke’s gift card for 1st place, a $40 Burke’s gift card for 2nd place and a $30 Burke’s gift card for 3rd place.
- Year-End Gift Card Drawing – At the end of the year (5/12/16 will be last day AR points will count toward year-end totals), we will hold a drawing for 10 $10 Burke’s gift cards. For every time your child meets their quarterly goal, their name will be entered into the drawing once.
You can check your child’s progress online via the Home Connect website (use your child’s AR login information to access this). Or you can ask your child’s teacher how they’re doing.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR CHILD SUCCEED?
Your main job is just to make sure your child is reading at home, ideally at least 20 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 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!).
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
Management Strategies for Reading (for struggling readers)
Read-Aloud and Read-Alone Grade Level Reading Lists (book recommendations)
Summer Reading Lists (by grade level)
Go, Peabody Eagles! Accelerate your reading!