The Accelerated Reader program is a computerized program that tests reading comprehension. Students select books in their reading level, read independently, and take an independent comprehension test on the computer at school. Each book is worth a certain number of points based on its length and reading level. Students get a percentage of these points based on how many of the test questions they get right. The program tracks their progress over the course of the school year.

    What is accelerated reader?

    Accelerated Reader is a reading program designed to encourage and promote successful reading. It helps students to track their reading comprehension by providing them the tools to measure their improvement. AR places the focus on the careful reading of books, which in turn promotes critical thinking.

    How does it work? 

    Children read books in their ZPD. After the parent or teacher signs off on the AR log, the child logs on to the school computer and takes the AR Reading Practice quiz for the book they just completed. They earn points based on their success on each quiz. The questions are designed to show how well the student understands the material. It’s one thing to read a book – it’s another thing to comprehend it in a meaningful way. 

    How is my child's reading level established? 

    At the beginning of the school year, your child will take a Star Reading test that determines his/her appropriate reading level. This test can be given three times per year. Based on his/her performance on this diagnostic tool, he/she is assigned a zone of proximal development, or ZPD. The number roughly correlates to the expected performance in a specific grade at a certain month of school. For instance, a level of 3.4 indicates third grade, fourth month.

    What does ZPD stand for? 

    The ZPD is a number range that correlates to levels assigned to AR books. The ZPD is designed to encourage students to read at their fluency level (the level at which they can read easily and with good comprehension).

    How can my child move up a reading level? 

    When your child is consistently successful in reading a variety of materials (fiction, non-fiction, biography) his/her teacher will raise the reading level by a small amount. If a student is having trouble passing the AR tests at a particular level, the teacher may decide to have them try books at a different level.

    Successful = scores of 80% and above on AR quizzes.

    How can I find out how many points my child has accumulated? 

    Your child can check his/her reading record through the AR program at school. You can also check the Renaissance Home Connect website to see your child's AR quiz scores. Another option is to check the reading log, which should have the score and number of points earned for each quiz taken.

    Why can't my child read a book on a higher/lower level? 

    Accelerated Reader is designed to promote successful reading experiences. Therefore, the ZPD assigned to each student places him/her into a range that is in the child’s fluency level. This means that your child should be comfortable independently reading the AR books within that range.

    Can my child take quizzes on books we own or check out from other libraries? 

    Yes, but the tests will need to be taken at Peoria Traditional School. Please check the Renaissance Learning website for the list of AR quizzes that we have access to. You will need a username and password to access the quiz list, which is sorted by level, author, and title. Some titles are similar, so be sure to check that the authors match, as well.

    It is important that you help your child choose materials in his/her ZPD. Students are only allowed to quiz on books that fall within their ZPD.

    My kindergartener/first grader is a good reader. Why aren’t they included in the AR program yet?

    Until a child is successful on the STAR Reading test, he/she will not begin Accelerated Reader. The purpose of AR is to promote successful reading experiences. You can help your child’s readiness by reading to and with him/her.

    How can I help?

    Assist your child with his/her daily reading assignment. Help them make book choices appropriate to their reading level. Encourage their efforts and ask them about the stories they're reading.
    Many teachers welcome parents to come supervise children taking AR quizzes in the classroom. Check with your child's teacher and see if they need some help.

    Online Resources


    Finding a Book's Reading Level


    Following Your Child's Progress