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Accelerated Reader facts for kids

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Accelerated Reader
Developer(s) Renaissance Learning
Initial release 1998; 24 years ago (1998)
Operating system Windows, macOS
Type Educational

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a website used by teachers and parents to improve or "accelerate" their reading skills.



ATOS is a readability formula, designed by Renaissance Learning, that is available at Renaissance Learning's website. Renaissance Learning claims that "ATOS" is the first formula to include statistics from actual student book-reading (more than 30,000 students, reading almost 7 books), not just data based on short text passages."

Books with quizzes in Accelerated Reader are analyzed during an account. the quiz creation process and assigned an ATOS readability level.


Accelerated Reader (AR) quizzes are available on fiction and non-fiction books, textbooks, supplemental materials, and magazines. Most are in the form of reading practice quizzes, although some are curriculum-based with multiple subjects.

Many of the company's quizzes are available in an optional recorded voice format for primary-level books, in which the quiz questions and answers are read to the student taking the quiz. These quizzes are designed to help emerging English And (some) Spanish readers take the quizzes without additional assistance.

The Renaissance Place version of Accelerated Reader also includes quizzes designed to practice vocabulary. The quizzes use words from books, and are taken after the book has been read. Bookmarks can be printed out that display the vocabulary words so that, as students read, they can refer to the bookmark for help. The quizzes keep track of words learned.


  • Reports are generated on demand to help students, teachers, and parents monitor student progress. Reports are available regarding student reading, comprehension, amount of reading, diagnostic information, and other variables. Customizable reports available in the Renaissance Place edition can also report district-level information.

The TOPS Report (The Opportunity to Praise Students) reports quiz results after each quiz is taken. Diagnostic Reports identify students in need of intervention based on various factors. The Student Record Report is a complete record of the books the student has read.

Evaluation research

  1. A number of studies have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of using Accelerated Reader in the classroom. The following two studies were reviewed by the What Works Clearinghouse and were found to meet their high standards for research.

Ross, Nunnery, and Goldfeder studied 1,665 students and 76 teachers (grades K-8) from 12 schools in Memphis, Tennessee. Some teachers were randomly selected to use Accelerated Reader and the others continued the regular curriculum without using the software. Students in classrooms with Accelerated Reader demonstrated gains. Many of the teachers that used the software responded positively to it and indicated that they would continue to use the software.

  1. In another study, Nunnery, Ross, and McDonald assessed the reading achievement of students in grades 3–8. They assessed the effects of individual, classroom, and school factors that impact reading achievement. Those in Accelerated Reader classrooms still outperformed students in control classrooms. Students with learning disabilities in very high implementation classrooms did not suffer from their disabilities as much as similar students in low or no implementation classrooms.

Other evaluations

In a controlled evaluation, Holmes and Brown found that two schools using the School Renaissance program achieved statistically significant higher standardized test scores when compared with two comparison schools that only used the Renaissance program in a limited way. Because so many schools in the United States are using Accelerated Reader, it was difficult for the authors of this study to find two schools in Georgia that were not already using Accelerated Reader. The authors noted:

"In all nine comparisons involving standardized test scores in reading, language arts, and mathematics, the Renaissance schools' children outperformed the contrast school's children. It can only be concluded that the Renaissance program was highly effective in raising the performance of these elementary students."

In 2003, Samuels and Wu found that, after six months, third- and fifth-grade students who used Accelerated Reader demonstrated twice the gain in reading comprehension as those that did not use Accelerated Reader. The comparison students completed book reports, suggesting that delayed feedback through book reports is not as useful as the immediate feedback provided by Accelerated Reader. In another study, Samuels and Wu found students in Accelerated Reader classrooms, after controlling for the amount of time spent reading each day, outperformed students in control classrooms.

Researcher Keith Topping completed a number of studies on Accelerated Reader that found the software to be an effective assessment for deciding curriculum.

Progress charts

Progress charts are ideas to implement in classrooms and work well with the Accelerated Reading program. Other names for these charts are star charts or sticker charts. They are a way for students to easily keep track of reading goals and motivates students to read more for a reward. “[Webre] suggests creating and implementing progress charts in the classroom setting for the purposes of student reflection and self-evaluation, celebration of small daily successes/accomplishments, stimulation of active learning, student choice, and control.”


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