What is AR and why do we use it?

Accelerated Reader is an online resource that helps teachers manage, monitor and improve children's independent reading practice. The system is research-based and proven to show results. 

How does AR work?

Your child picks a book from our AR library, from within their ZPD range, and reads it at their own pace. Children using Accelerated Reader choose books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.  Children have the opportunity to read for at least 20 minutes each day.  This is independent reading time; teachers and teaching assistants will listen to children read.

When a book is finished, your child takes a short quiz on an iPad. The quiz gives an indication of your child’s understanding of the text they have read. This is not a test, children are encouraged to refer to the book whilst answering the quiz questions. Children can quiz in school or at home via

What is a ZPD?

A ZPD is the range of books that will challenge your child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. All books in our AR library are given an AR book level, this is not the same as a book band level. An example ZPD could be 2.4 to 3.9. This means the child is free to select any book that falls into this range of numbers. They do not have to read books in numerical order, starting with the lowest number and working up to the highest. The ZPD encourages your child to read a breadth of books and they can choose any book level within the range.

Your child’s ZPD is generated by the Renaissance Star Reading® test.  Star Reading test is a computerised reading assessment. When taking the test, questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child misses a question, the difficulty level is reduced. After carrying out the test, children are given a ZPD scale that shows the range of books children should read. Sentence length and vocabulary are taken into consideration when defining the ZPD range.

When will my child’s ZPD change?

Children take a short Star Reader test three times a year. Each time, the computer system re-calibrates your child’s ZPD. This may not change significantly as the ZPD is designed to encourage children to read a breadth of books within their capabilities. The ZPD is not used to assess your child’s reading level and the numbers are not linked to their age or year group.

Why is AR successful?

Accelerated Reader gives children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to support or challenge your child as well as setting targets and directing ongoing reading practice.  Children really enjoy taking the quizzes because they’re reading books at both their reading and interest levels. This means they experience success and builds a love of reading.

How will I know if my child is on track for reading?

Accelerated Reader is one element of your child’s reading development. We teach reading through our English lessons and we celebrate reading for pleasure. Teachers can access a range of information from the Accelerated Reading programme to highlight the strengths and areas of development in your child’s reading. If this shows any areas of concern, your child’s teacher will contact you to discuss strategies of support, both in school and at home.

The Accelerated Reader programme is one of several tools that teachers use to make judgements as to whether your child is meeting age related expectations for reading.

How can I help my child?

As with anything, performance improves with practice. Your child should read to you at least twice per week, regardless of their age or ability. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child is comprehending what they read. Reading with your child, no matter what the child’s age or fluency, is an important part of developing a good reader, and building a lifelong love of reading and learning.


Northway Community Primary School
Dodds Lane,
Merseyside L31 9AA
Main Contact: Mrs C Booth
SEN Contact: Mrs L Sumner