Literacy is a key element of our plans to improve learning in PCS. The links below will assist you in purchasing/choosing texts with your son/daughter to read throughout the year.
Accelerated Reader (AR)
What is AR?
AR is a reading tool designed to encourage students to read within their capability and to improve literacy. Renaissance have set up reading levels, interest levels and quizzes on over 40,000 books. The aim is to ensure students are reading at a comfortable reading level – if a book is too easy or too difficult they may lose interest.
How does AR work?
AR starts with an individual assessment of each student’s reading level – we hope to run this assessment within the first few weeks of the school year. The Star Assessment brings the student through a short series of questions – it starts with just a sentence or two and then depending on how the student answers, the next question/piece of text will be generated. The assessment takes less than 30 minutes for most students.
Once the students have had their Star Assessment, they will be assigned an individual book level called a ZPD which will help them to choose books that are within their reading capability. This ZPD score will be recorded in their school journal.
They can choose from suitably labelled books in the school library or read books or other reading material they have at home or online (e.g.: Kindle etc.). The website arbookfind.co.uk lists all books that have AR quizzes and can be searched by book title, author or ISBN. The advanced search option allows students to include their ZPD range and/or topic of interest.
Once they finish reading a book they should take the associated online quiz, preferably within 48 hours of finishing – students can access this through their individual sign-on. The quiz will assess how well they understood the book and will assign them points based on the level of difficulty, length of text and percentage test result received.
How does PCS use AR?
We piloted AR in 2022/2023 with our First Year students. This will continue as they move into 2nd year and we will also include this year’s incoming 1st year class. Each class will have a dedicated 40-minute reading class per week and will also be encouraged to read at home as part of their nightly homework. Students will be able to choose from a wide range of titles in our school Library which will be labelled for Accelerated Reader.
We will reassess students periodically throughout the year and assign them new ZPDs based on how well their reading has improved. Going forward, we hope to introduce reading-based challenges to encourage reading practice.
In time, we hope to cross reference all of the books in our school library onto the Accelerated Reader cloud so that students (and parents) will be able to see which books we have within their ZPD at a glance. Work on this is due to commence during the 2023/24 school year.
How can students use AR outside of the classroom?
Students can check online at arbookfind.co.uk to see if the books they have at home or on their Kindle have associated AR quizzes – they can also see if the books fall into their reading range. They can then read these books at their own pace and do the appropriate quiz afterwards. We hope that parents will help us to facilitate this.
For students in First Year they should search for books with an Interest Level of MY or MY+ which are aimed at students up to age 13/14. As they move into Second Year they can also include books with an Interest Level of UY which are aimed at students of around 14 and upwards.
We also recommend that students join their local library – the following link takes you to the Fingal Library website where you can find further information https://www.fingal.ie/council/service/join-library . Once signed up as a member, students can access a huge range of books at their library, order books that they do not have in stock and also access thousands of books online via the Borrowbox app.