Everything Rob and I do in our independent reading period is dedicated to getting each of our students to read 1,000,000 words from “Just-Right” books by the end of the school year. We’ve backwards planned our grading system and incentive program to reflect this goal because research shows that the greatest predictor of reading proficiency is time spent reading. Additionally, students who read 1,000,000 words in a year are in the 80th percentile of total reading volume. Our goal is to have all of our students be way above average.
The problem is that it is difficult for a teacher to measure students’ time spent reading. In the past I’ve relied on reading logs – a student generated chart of school and home reading – and I never felt it was accurate. Plus, it was impossible to track data across thousands of reading logs. There is an easy solution to this problem, and it’s called Accelerated Reader. As I’ve written about previously, AR is a fantastic tool that’s easy to use and produces meaningful data. One feature of AR is that it tracks exactly how many words a student has read. When a student finishes a book and passes the AR quiz, she gets credit for the total words in the book. For example, if she finishes Dork Diaries and passes the quiz, AR gives her credit for reading 29,745 words. This is such a concrete number that it has tremendous meaning for students and can be used for not only grading purposes, but also for motivational purposes. Rob and I have a re-occurring incentive for students who read 150,000 words over a six week period. Thus, we regularly see our students check how close they are to making the incentive, and in the final weeks, students try to read as much as they can so they’ll be invited to the party. More than half of our students earned the last incentive, and since the system is so transparent, there wasn’t a single student complaint about fairness. For a teacher, this is so much better than sifting through thousands of reading logs, or worse, guessing.
In this post, I’ll show you how to run the “word count” report on Accelerated Reader and what it looks like.
Click 1: Select “I’m a Teacher/Administrator.”
Click 2: Select the “Accelerated Reader” icon.
Click 3: Select “Reports.”
Click 4: Select “Reading Practice.”
Click 5: Select “Word Count.”
Click 6: Select your preferred filter criteria and then click “View Report.”
Here’s the report. I can’t put into words how awesome and useful this report is.