Reading is a skill, and like every skill it requires not just instruction but practice. Reading practice enables students to apply the skills and strategies that we teach. It gives us opportunities to check student learning and identify weaknesses. And it draws students into the world of “real” reading—a world in which people learn from and enjoy books.
To encourage lifelong “real” reading, the Ware County School District utilizes a program called Accelerated Reader (AR) as a tool for meeting the goals of the Georgia Performance Standards, which emphasize that students must be able to comprehend literary and informational texts of increasing complexity as they progress through the grades so that by the time they leave high school, they will be ready to tackle the literacy demands of higher education and the workplace. Through the AR program, Williams Heights’ teachers know what their students are reading and how well they are reading it. They also provide instruction, guidance, and time for practice with increasingly complex text. Students must be able to apply the skills that we teach not only during lessons, but when they are reading on their own. Teachers check in with students every day during reading practice time and have the opportunity to consistently and deliberately support that application. AR gives us a way to move students into increasingly complex text at a pace that promotes competency.
Teachers and students set AR goals, and students are rewarded weekly, monthly, and quarterly for their accomplishments. Currently, students in grades K-5 have passed a total of 32,964 quizzes, and have earned 20,093 points! 34 students have over 100 AR points, one 5th grade student has over 200 AR points, and we still have three months to go!
No one is more supportive of Accelerated Reader than the school's Media Specialist, Mrs. Heather Thigpen. Williams Heights’ students really enjoy reading new AR books. More than 200 new books were purchased this year in the Media Center in addition to many resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. Accelerated Reader is paid for with local Education SPLOST funds. That's your smart tax dollars at work. Thank you for passing the E-SPLOST, Ware County!
Pictured left to right: Cassandra P., Natalya M., Jaysmarie D., Amaghi R., and Landon S. search for the perfect AR book.