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IDEAS FOR
ACCELERATED READER

Themes Incentives
Library Organization Setting Goals
Tracking Student Progress Advantage Learning Systems
The Teachers.Net Accelerated Reading Chatboard Printable Forms for Accelerated Reader from Laura Candler's File Cabinet

Themes

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 We are getting ready to start our third year of AR. Our first year, we had a western theme (throughout the entire school.) We had a giant bulletin board in the main hall, and when kids reached a certain point level, they pinned a picture on it... pictures were like... a cowboy on a horse for 5 points... a pair of boots for 10 points... a horseshoe for 20... etc.

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Submitted by AronWestTx~3

 

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Last year we sewed two bed sheets together and painted an underwater mural on it (for our ocean theme) and hung it in the cafeteria... Each child had his own marker (3rd graders had octopi, 5th had crabs, etc.) Each part of the mural was a designated point area... If a child reached 50 points he put his marker on the coral... if he reached 100 he put it on the sunken ship... if he reached 500 it was on the treasure chest... etc.

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Submitted by AronWestTx~3

 

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This year our theme will be the rain forest. And I believe that each grade will be doing their own point board in their own hall. Since three of the four 3rd graders teachers are new... we haven't really discussed how we are going to do it yet.

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Submitted by AronWestTx~3

 

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We did a Rubber Ducky theme at our school. There was a large bathtub displayed on a wall in the main hallway. Students had to earn bubbles for the tubs. Primary and Intermediate had different point levels. For example: Primary had the following levels: 5 points = red bubble, 10 points = blue bubble, 15 points = green bubble, 20 points = purple bubble, 25 points = plastic rubber ducky (the bath toy) to hang on the wall, 50 point = Accelerated Reader T-Shirt, and 100 points = students got to pick any restaurant they wanted to go to and eat lunch with the principal. The Intermediate had the same type of thing, but their points were higher. I think they had to reach 50 point for the rubber ducky.

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Submitted by Kathryn/KS

Incentives

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I have used AR for several years.  One of the best incentives I have used was to challenge my students to beat my points each grading period. I would buy pizza for lunch for everyone who beat or tied my points. They had to read books at or above their reading levels to qualify.  I have also used prizes awarded at the end of the year for high point winners. Most of those came from Scholastic and Troll book club offers using bonus points so they didn't cost me anything.
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Submitted by Eileen/Texas

 

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We keep our goal posted up in the room and every once in a while I'll check and tell them how much more they need. I think this is so much fun and it worked great. I also put the students into clubs; for example - 10 point club/ 20 point club / 30 point club..... etc. - This is a fun way to let them line up (highest first.) I also use it for special activities. Every once in a while I will bring out my treat box. If they are in the 10 point club they get one treat, 40 point club 4 treats, etc. The students who end up in the 100 point club work up to 10 treats. I only do this every once in a while, but they love it! I do require that the books they read MUST be on their level or above, not lower. (This will be the only way they grow as readers.)

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Submitted by Tulip

 

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Our school makes a school goal. This year it was 20,000 points and we just made it. The principal had to dress up like a baby all day (the children were given the opportunity to vote on what he would do). It was funny!

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Submitted by Tulip

 

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I love Accelerated Reader! It is a really BIG deal in my room as well. My students set goals for themselves every four weeks to try to earn more points. My students' minimum goal should be ten points. (You'll be surprised that many students will like to challenge themselves to do more). We also make a class goal. That way we all work together to try and make our points. This is a lot of fun. I give a grade for the individual goals. One thing I try to get them to remember is that it is a goal and that sometimes they will come close and sometimes they will go over and that is okay. I usually give an automatic "A" if the student is at least within 2 points of her goal. For our class goal, the prizes are "bigger," which makes the students try super hard! Actually I try to let the class prize get bigger each time; the students love this. Some examples of class prizes I used last year were extra outside time, a movie, ice cream sundae party, etc. (Believe it or not they made their class goal every time last year and sometimes it was over 300 points in 4 weeks). It was great!

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Submitted by Tulip

 

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Another teacher and I organized an AR store that we put in the library. There isn't much, so we had to get creative. We used an old display case that locks to showcase our items. We put an old sheet over the shelves to dress up the "window display." We used glass bricks to hold the sheet in place and help prop up some of the items on display. We used streamer to divide each shelf into two sections. The other teacher made cards on her computer that announce how many points are required for the items in each section. We decided this was easier than marking every item. We made sections for 5 points, 10 points, 25 points, 50 points, 100 points, 150 points, 200 points, 250 points, and 300 points. Last year we went on a major shopping spree once each semester to build our stock of prizes. (For some ideas on where to get inexpensive prizes, click here.) Once we have new prizes, we put one of each item in the appropriate sections in the display case. We decide together how many points each item will be worth. This is determined by the actual cost of the item and the potential demand for it. A teacher who has an office in the library lets us store boxes of prizes on her shelves. We labeled the boxes with the nine different point levels and placed the appropriate items in them. Teachers decide on an individual basis when to take their students to the store and then schedule it with the librarian. When a teacher goes to the library, she takes the boxes out of the office and then calls 2-3 students at a time to come spend their points. Each teacher keeps track of points spent for her students. Of course students can save points, as they don't have to be spent until the end of the year. We aren't allowing students to carry points over from one year to the next. This was our first year for an all school store, and so far the students seem to like it.

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Kim at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

 

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The school had benchmarks that if they were reached the teachers had to do something. For example: When the school (total score) reached 500 points, the K-1 teachers had an ice cream eating contest where each class had a student feed their teacher ice cream while blind-folded. This was a whole school assembly! Then when we reached 1000 points, the 2-3 teachers had to do something, etc. When we reached the highest goal, the principal ate lunch on the roof. Our school really got into AR and enjoyed all of the incentives.

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Submitted by Kathryn/KS

 

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I don't like giving tangible rewards for reading. So my third grade team has a Hall of Fame. We have a wall that the whole school goes by when they are on their way to recess. I made some signs on the computer like "All Star Readers" and "Award Winning Readers." We set up various point clubs (5 points, 10 points, 20 points, etc.), and each time a student in 3rd grade earns that number of points, s/he puts her/his name on a die cut that goes with the sign for the point club (All Star Reader = star cutout; Award Winning Reader = medal cutout, etc). The kids LOVE putting their names up, other students comment on them, and a the end of the year, they get to take the cutouts home. We do this instead of a store. I run a report every day and post it in the room so that kids can see where they are in aiming towards their goal. We also set a class goal at the beginning of the year and post that outside the classroom. The other classes do the same and we get some friendly rivalry going. Sometimes we challenge another class to see who can score the most points in a certain time period and the loser treats the winner to something (of course, the losing class gets the treat, too! They just serve it to the other class - like ice cream floats.)

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Submitted by Suzanne/TX 3

 

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Even though I teach 8th grade, I have students on all reading levels, even 1st grade. Therefore, I don't like posting how many points the students have accumulated because it is embarrassing to some of them. Instead, once a student has met her goal for the grading period, I post her name on a bulletin board that I have entitled "Accelerated Reader Goal Achievers." (I'm working on a better title.) The student also gets a coupon that can be redeemed for one 40 minute free time period during Accelerated Reader. During free time, students can work on homework, work or play on the computer, or play games. Most students wait to redeem their coupons until a friend has also met his goal so they can play games together.

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Kim at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

 

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We just got our AR program up and running at Christmas last year. The teachers were totally in charge of their own classrooms. After going through and showing the kids exactly what the program entailed, I told the kids that I would take the two kids with the highest accumulated points out to lunch in May (my treat). It just happened that I took 3 kids to lunch (the scores for 2nd place were within 1.5 pts. of each other). I got the required permission slips signed by the parents and we went during lunch/recess time. I took them to a lovely little tea room that we have here in town. (I knew that if I had left it up to them we would have wound up at McDonalds!) We had a ball!!! It was also quite a treat to them as I had just purchased a brand new convertible the week before our luncheon! :-)

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Submitted by Janice (Ginger4OK)

 

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One of my students' major grades is based on the percentage of their goal they meet. We set new goals each grading period, and they receive a grade for each grading period. I require that the students keep a reading log card each week. I made one that is small enough to fit in the pocket of a book. It includes places for the student's name and goal. I ran the days of the week in a column, creating a row for each day. Then I divided the rows into columns for title of book, actual pages read, teacher initials, and notes. The boxes are small, but they work. I copied and pasted until I got six on a page. Then I ran these on cardstock and cut them apart. I pick up old cards and give out new ones every Friday. My students have 40 minutes of silent Accelerated Reader time each day. During this time, they can read, take a test, or check out book. If a student does this without talking, the teacher initials the student's card for the day. If a student has all boxes initialed at the end of the week, he receives a bonus point to be added to his points for the grading period. (These points are counted when we set goals.) This system helps keep the students on task. If a student forgets his card, he doesn't get initials for the day. I give out new cards if a student loses his card, but he loses the point for the week. Some students use their cards for bookmarks and some keep the cards in their binders, but most of them keep the card in the book pocket.

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Kim at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

 

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The following are rewards that I offer at various point levels:

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Fancy pencil; 50 cent coupon for our used book store; "Desk mobile" (student can move his desk anywhere in the room for one day); Lunch with teacher (and one friend if student wishes) -- Usually we do this in the room or in our gazebo in our courtyard. Each person brings his own lunch; Lunch with teacher...teacher provides pizza. (I just started this at the end of last year, and no one got that far yet. Not sure if I'll buy French bread microwave pizza or what or buy one the night before and reheat or.......depending on the day and my schedule.); I'm buying a small plastic trophy this year (got the idea on the Teachers.Net Chatboard) to send home for one night at a certain point level...to be returned for next student.

 

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Submitted by m.a.

 

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I teach both 7th and 8th grade English and Accelerated Reader is a part of my student's quarterly grade.  One motivator I use for students to reach their goals is an AR "Pop Star" coupon.  Our school has very strict rules regarding soda in the classrooms.  As soon as my students reach their goal, the receive an AR Pop Star coupon that gives them permission to bring a soda in to my class every day for a week.  It's a great incentive. The kids feel like they're breaking the rules and it's a visible reminder to the other kids to get their quizzes done.
   

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Submitted by KimR/Nevada/7&8English

Library Organization

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For my classroom library, I put the reading level and number of points for each book on the inside front cover. (I prefer this to the spine as I have 8th graders, and some begin the year at a 1st grade level.) I used magazine storage boxes to divide my bookshelves into sections for different reading levels. At first I tried for sections for 1.0 - 1.9, 2.0 - 2.9, 3.0 -3.9, etc. However, I have so many books that this isn't always possible. I have some divisions that are 6.0 - 6.5, 6.5 - 6.9, 7.0 - 7.3, etc. I have each division marked on an index card which I tape to the bookshelf with scotch tape. I know clear tape would last longer, but as I had new books, my divisions change. I place the books on the shelf according to reading level and don't worry about putting them in alphabetical order by author. I would spend all day trying to keep them correctly arranged. This system works pretty well, as students don't always pay attention to author anyway. If a student wants a book by a particular author, we look up reading levels of books by that author and go from there. For more ideas on organizing a classroom library, click here.

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Kim at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

 

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Our school library labels the spine of each book with the reading level, then alphabetizes them by author. The AR books are kept separate from the rest so that students can find them more easily. I have also seen some libraries, both school and classroom, use different colored stickers for each reading level range. For example, all books in the 5.0 - 5.9 range are marked with a blue sticker. The exact reading level is then marked on the sticker and it is covered in clear tape.

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Kim at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

Setting Goals

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My students and I set goals based on the number of 40 minute periods they have to read during the grading period and bonus points they can earn. (See my idea under Incentives.) I adapted the goal setting chart for 40 minutes a day, six weeks a grading period. At the beginning of the year, the students take the STAR test to determine reading level. We use this as a reference point for the initial goal. I conference with the students each week and we make adjustments if necessary. I had some students who intentionally failed AR tests so I would lower their goals, so I let the students know that I would only lower the goal once. After that, the only way to go was UP! (Of course if a student was TRULY struggling, I would make an exception--but that was just between us.)

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Kim at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

 

Tracking Student Progress

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One thing I have done is create conference sheets. I run the at-risk report and then conference with all students about their points, testing average, reading level, and current book. I use one conference sheet per student per grading period--we set goals per grading periods. The sheet has room for the student's name, reading level, and goal at the top. I then create columns for date, average reading level, testing average, number of points, and a column for notes. In the last column I write small notes about what the students and I discussed during the conference, title of current book, if goal has been met, notes of encouragement, etc. I conference with the students at least once a week and try to conference with those on the at-risk report more often. Once I started this system, the number of students on my at-risk report went down almost every week!

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Kim at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

 

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I help each student set a goal for the 6 weeks grading period. At 3 weeks, we conference and re-evaluate the goal - lowering it if the student has really been trying, but just can't make it; or raising it if the student is breezing by. I give a major grade for percentage of goal attained, and also one on the total percentage of test scores. (If they read lots of books, but not well and don't do well on the tests, they don't get a really high grade in reading.) We use the STAR testing available from the AR company to do a reading range on each kid, and they are required to read in that range. If they take a test out of their range, I just go in and delete it. My students are required to read every day at home for homework (weekends and holidays too) and have a log sheet the parent initials to verify that they read. Many of them choose to read AR books during this time, although it is not required. They have Self Selected Reading time at school, too (30 - 45 minutes).

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Submitted by Suzanne/TX 3

 

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All of my students have their individualized goal for points.  We begin each quarter with their "star" hanging at the 0% of the room.  When they get to 25%, we move the star.  Then again at 50%, 75% and finally 100%.  The kids love to see their star move and it is based upon THEIR personal goal so they can all move!
   

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Submitted by Bonnie 6th AZ

 

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I utilize the Accelerated Reader program in my 8th grade reading classes and I have found a way to chart a student's progress without making the lower level readers feel bad about low point goals.  I use typical charts and have the students names on the vertical axis and across the top I have percent of goal.  Each time a student takes the AR test, it tells what percent of their goal they have obtained.  Then the students put stickers up to record what percentage they have.  This way, when a student's goal is only 10 points and he earns 5, he is at 50%; the same as a student whose goal is 40 points and has earned 20.
    

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Submitted by Susan Mannion, 8th grade reading

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