Technology Evaluation: Accelerated Reader

This week I am going to discuss AR – Accelerated Reader. This is a pretty popular reading program, it may even be at your school. In my evaluation I am going to focus on how I use it in my own room, since there are so many things you can do with this resource.

Accelerated reader is a reading program that evaluates students reading skills, provides reading goals that students can read by earning points. Students earn points by reading books and taking online quizzes. There are so many tools within AR such as diagnostic tests, tons of reading reports, goal tracking, quiz creations and more.

When you log in as a teacher you have options on your dashboard above. I have my students take the Star Reading test about once a month. This test finds the students Zone of Proximal Development which we can use to find books at their reading level. Notice that you can create and add your own content if your book does not already have a quiz in the database. You can check what books are already apart of AR here: This is also a great resource to find interest books for students.


Below are some of my students reading goals. You can see how many points they’ve earned this quarter. My school has a prize store where students can use their points to buy toys, books, and school supplies. I have my daily reading time set to 25 mins since that is how long they have for independent reading in their Language Arts Rotations. You can see how their goals are calculated based off their ZPD, reading time, and goal % correct. My class needs to score an 85% or higher on their quiz to receive points for that book.

I let my class chose their own independent reading novels, but I noticed most of my class was struggling to meet their goals. So I started picking one picture book a week that was a 4th grade level and correlated with something we were learning. I made these weekly books required, and use their quiz scores as part of their reading grades. I’ve noticed my class earning more points, and many really enjoy the chance to read a good picture book. You can see my classes latest quiz results below – it is really easy to add them to my gradebook since they are all in order.

I had mixed feelings about AR when I first started using it. I was not a fan, until I started assigning picture books and could immediately see the change in my class. I highly recommend AR, there are hundreds of other features I didn’t mention – but that is the best part. Since it is such a customizable tool once you figure it out it fits very well into the classroom.

9 thoughts on “Technology Evaluation: Accelerated Reader”

  1. Rachel – I may try this out although I teach high school. I have enough students reading at a very low level that it might apply. I grabbed a bunch of 2-3 rd grade books off of our “free pile” around Christmas time because my slow readers were struggling with everything I had. I now have some reading with smiles because we have some graphic novels and “Captain Underpants.” As a high school teacher, it isn’t necessarily about how many words they are reading anymore so much as can they grasp the concepts. However, this sounds like something I could supplement for some of my sped kids too. Did it cost anything? Did your school subscribe?

    1. Yes our school pays for it. I did a quick search and it looks like you can buy individual licences for students.

      “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.”

  2. I remember taking Accelerated Reader quizzes when I was in grade school! At our school though we use Reading Counts, which is very similar. I like that AR coordinates with the STAR test, which we also take three times a year, to show you their ZPD. I see that it also shows you their goal reading level and what level the book actually was. Do you know if this is accessible if we also have the STAR test, or is it a separate subscription?

  3. What a great resource you found! I really like how the kids are allowed to pick their own books. I find that they are much more involved when they have a say in what they are reading. Have you seen an increase in their reading level since starting to use this? I would be interested to see how their level and interest in reading is affected.
    I also love that is is easy to add the scores to a grade book! I am a big fan of technology when they take into account things like that.

  4. My school also uses Accelerated Reader. My students are supposed to take and pass (with 80% or higher) at least two books each week. I also teach 4th grade. I love that you are reading a picture book to them each week that corresponds with what you are teaching. That is an awesome idea and I think I will do that as well.

  5. We use Rennaissance in our school. The teachers use it the same way as you described. They assign goals to students that they are to meet each week. They don’t have a store of prizes yet. They do have a reading race at the end of the year in which the students earn bucks for AR points. They can use these bucks for prizes or events at an end of the year carnival.

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