We all know that the more we practice something, the better we become at it. I remember the first time I decided to run. I was winded after about three-quarters of a mile. The day I made it to a mile was a major accomplishment. After running nearly every day for a year, I finished my first marathon.
Academics work the same way. Students need to practice every day. Daily independent reading is an important piece to the success of the students.
How much should students read independently each day? Most research states that students should average between 100 to 150 minutes per week. This is about 15-20 minutes each day. This amount of reading helps students in all subject areas. Obviously it helps with reading, but it also helps students to be able to understand the more complex vocabulary that shows up in all subject areas as a student progresses through school. A student who reads 15 minutes a day will encounter approximately 13.7 million words by the end of high school. A student who reads about five minutes a day is likely to see about 1.5 million words by the end of high school. The difference is drastic.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is one of the tools that teachers use to help encourage and monitor independent reading. Students are able to pick a book that interests them and read it at their own pace. After students complete a book, they are able to take an AR quiz and earn points toward an AR goal that the teacher has set for them.
Point goals are set by the teacher by looking at the STAR test results. The number of points each book is worth is based on the number of words per sentence, grade level of the words, and the characters per word. The students goals are based on reading at their level about 15-20 minutes each day.
If a student is reading 15-20 minutes each day, the AR goal will be met. More importantly, the student will receive the benefits of reading. The earlier we can help create strong independent readers, the better the outcome will be.