October 23, 2012

Why do students at LMS have Accelerated Reader reading goals?

Reading is a skill and, as with every skill, it requires not just instruction but practice. A sports team that rarely practices is not going to improve and will not be successful in competition. If you want to be a better golfer you will have to actually get out there and swing a golf club. It is the same with reading! That is where Accelerated Reader (AR) fits in at LMS-it provides the structure and accountability for reading practice.

Why is it important that they achieve their goals? 

Practice does not automatically lead to growth. In order to make sure our practice at LMS is effective, students are given an AR goal each quarter. The most important part of the goal is the comprehension goal; students are to maintain an average of 85 percent or above on the AR tests they take upon completion of each book they read. Research tells us that high scores on AR quizzes are associated with large gains in reading achievement. Students also have a point goal; this part of the goal is to ensure that students will have adequate "practice time" each day to develop and improve their reading skills. (Would a basketball team that only practiced for only ten minutes a day show improvement?) Additionally, students have a book level goal; the purpose of the book level goal is to make sure that the practice is at the right level of difficulty for the student. Students have a minimum book level goal to maintain while reading throughout their zone of proximal development (ZPD). It is important, too, that students are reading books that are interesting to them as a reader.

How can parents help?

You can check your child's progress by going to the Home Connect website,, and log in using your child's AR username and password. You will be able to view their progress and look at their bookshelf (the bookshelf displays all of the books that they have read and taken AR tests on throughout their school years in Lexington Public Schools). Home Connect provides you with an opportunity to take an active role in monitoring and helping your child reach his or her AR goals. You can help by encouraging your student to read, providing a quiet time and place at home to read, and asking how they are coming on reaching their AR goal. You may also become more aware of the books your child is reading and have some conversations about the types of books your child likes to read. By working together, we will develop better readers, and better readers really do make better learners!