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Accelerated Reader by Renaissance Learning is a program OLPH School adopted five years ago which centers on raising reading comprehension of our students from grades 4-8. The students choose what they independently read, with the help of their parents, teachers, and fellow students. Using their Lexile scores, teacher observation, and the Star Reading Assessment, students are paired with books within their developmental reading comfort zone. They have a plethora of books from which to choose, within many genres.
Student readers are given a “point goal” to reach by the end of each trimester. They reach their goals by reading books that have a point value attached to them, along with successfully passing a computerized assessment. A book’s point value is based on its level of vocabulary, sentence structure, and length as set by the program. Our goal as a school is to have each student reach his or her point goal while maintaining a comprehension score of 85% or higher throughout the year.
While students often cling to their favorite type of books, teachers help to open their eyes and minds to different genres. By requiring one book to be read in a focus genre during each trimester, students still have the choice of reading a book within the category. This book becomes the center of journal writing , conferences, essay writing, and oral presentations. Students who once had a problem choosing books often become excited and inspired by hearing the book talks of their classmates, making their future choices easier and better educated.
The old adage of ”practice makes perfect” is true in most everything we do in life. Being a successful reader requires practice. We believe that this program helps our students to not only practice reading, but to aid them with decision making, goal setting, planning, and management. Students equipped to make more independent and better educated decisions is one of our goals, while providing the guidance they need that reflects their Catholic values.