Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a reading program designed specifically to enhance and develop students reading skills. AR works by assessing the students reading age and producing their zone of proximal development (ZPD). The ZPD allows students to read books at their optimal learning level and does this by offering each student their personalised book levels. As long as a student is reading a book within this range, their ZPD, they will make significant progress towards developing a stronger level of comprehension and fluency in what they are reading.

For more information, Renaissance Learning who run AR, have a fantastic website:


  1. How are reading ages assessed?
    Each student takes an online reading assessment which consists of 34 multiple choice questions. Each answer given dictates the level of the next question which results in a very specific and tailored reading age for every student. The questions assess their ability to de-code words and their level of comprehension.
  2. What are book levels and why do the students have to choose books within their levels?
    Each reading assessment that a student completes gives us their zone of proximal development (ZPD). This is the level in which they will make most progress. The book levels issued are specific to each student’s results, and by reading within these levels they will make the most effective progress. Each student has a book level range, for example, 3.5 – 5.5. Books at the lower end of the range should be comfortable for the student to read and they should achieve 100% on these books early on. As they move up through the levels the books will become more challenging for them and may take longer to read. A book at the top of their range should not be attempted until they have shown competency throughout the lower levels. Students may be able to de-code words in higher level books, however these will be challenging comprehensively and will slow progression.
  3. How often should a student read their AR book?
    AR recommends that students read their AR book between 20-45 minutes a day to ensure they make significant progress.
  4. What are book quizzes?
    Each book has a points value attached. These are formulated by AR and are based on the difficulty of the book, for example, sentence length and level of vocabulary used. Longer books are not necessarily worth more points! When a student finishes their book, they log onto their AR account and take a short quiz assessing their level of understanding of the book. The base pass rate is 60%. 80% is the optimum score for showing that a student has adequately understood the book while being suitably challenged. If a student is regularly achieving 100% they will need to be choosing books higher up their levels to continue being challenged.
  5. How are the targets set and measured?
    After each reading assessment, AR automatically generates a target for each student. This is a points target based on the points value of each book. The target is set using the students ZPD, the number of weeks in the term and the requirement of the student reading for 20 minutes each day.
  6. To achieve points towards their target, a student must first pass their book quiz by achieving 60% or more. If they achieve 100% on a book quiz, they receive the full points value for that book. This is then proportioned down to 60%. For example, if a book is worth 1pt they would achieve the following:
    • 100% pass rate = 1pt
    • 80% pass rate = 0.8pt
    • 60% pass arte = 0.6pt
    • These points are added to the students target automatically and will calculate what percentage of their target they have achieved overall.
  7. Can I read a book from home?
    Yes! AR is a national program and is not limited to the books in our library. If you have a book at home you would like to read for AR, please bring it in and I will check the level and points value. If the book is not in your level, please continue to read it at home secondary to reading your AR book for 20 minutes each day.

Book levels can be checked here:

Recommended reading

The list below is split into interest levels (MY/UY) with the book levels in brackets.

Interest Level: Middle/Middle Years Plus (MY/MY+)

Don’t Do It! (2.5) – Helen Orme
Point Blanc: The Graphic Novel (2.6) – Anthony Johnston
Night of the Scrawler (2.7) – Michael Dahl
Death Match (3.0) – Andy Croft
Skeleton Key: The Graphic Novel (3.0) – Anthony Johnston
Goosebumps (3.2 – 4.6) – R.L. Stine
A Greyhound of a Girl (3.3) – Roddy Doyle
Football Academy series (3.4 – 3.7) – Tom Palmer
Tom Gates series (3.8 – 4.4) – L Pichon
The 13-Storey Treehouse (3.9) Andy Griffiths (part of the Treehouse series)
The Private Blog of Joe Cowley (4.1)/Return of the Geek (4.2) – Ben Davis
The Crossover (4.3) – Kwame Alexander
The Midnight Gang (4.4) – David Walliams
The Unforgotten Coat (4.4) – Frank Cottrell Boyce
River of Ink: Genesis (4.5) – Helen Dennis
Candyfloss (4.5) – Jacqueline Wilson
Wonder (4.8) – R.J Palacio
Dropzone (4.8) – Andy McNab
Shadow (4.9) – Michael Morpurgo
Matilda (5.0) – Roald Dahl
Scorpia (5.0) – Anthony Horowitz (part of the Alex Rider series)
Sands of the Scorpion (5.1) – Bear Grylls
Swallows and Amazons (5.1) – Arthur Ransom
Private Peaceful (5.2) – Michael Morpurgo
Grandpa’s Great Escape (5.2) – David Walliams
The Hunger Games series (5.3) – Suzanne Collins
The Chronicles of Narnia (5.4 – 5.9) – C.S Lewis
Journey to the River Sea (5.6) – Eva Ibbotson
Survival (5.7) – Chris Ryan (part of the Alpha Force Series)
How to Train Your Dragon series (5.7 – 6.9) – Cressida Cowell
Murder Most Unladylike (5.8) – Robin Stevens
I Am Malala (5.9) – Malala Yousafzai
The Victory Dogs (6.0) – Megan Rix
Mary Poppins (6.1) – P.L Travers
Goth Girls Series (6.5 – 6.6) – Chris Riddell
The Escape (6.6) – Robert Muchamore (part of the Henderson Boys series)
A Christmas Carol (6.7) – Charles Dickens
Little Women (7.5) – Louisa May Alcott
Peter Pan (7.7) – James M Barrie

Interest Level: Upper Years (UY)

The Recruit (4.7) – Robert Muchamore (part of the Cherub series)
There Will Be Lies (4.8) – Nick Lake
The Divergent Series (4.8 – 5.7) – Veronica Roth
One (5.2) – Sarah Crossan (Carnegie Prize winner 2016)
The Fault in our Stars (5.5) – John Green
About a Boy (5.5) – Nick Hornby
To Kill a Mockingbird (5.6) – Harper Lee
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (5.8) – John Boyne
I know why the Caged Bird Sings (6.7) – Maya Angelou (Autobiography)
The Great Gatsby (7.3) – F Scott Fitzgerald
Jane Eyre (7.9) – Charlotte Bronte
1984 (8.9) – George Orwell
Great Expectations (9.2) – Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities (9.7) – Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice (12.0) – Jane Austen

Blue Peter Book Awards

Rooftoppers (3.5) – Katherine Rundell – Winner 2014
Tom Gates Genius Ideas (mostly) (4.0) – Liz Pichon – Winner 2013
The Astounding Broccoli Boy (4.5) – Frank Cottrell Boyce – Runner up 2016
The Nowhere Emporium (5.0) – Ross MacKenzie – Winner 2016
The Spy who Loved School Dinners (5.3) – Pamela Butchart – Winner 2015
The Boy who Sailed an Ocean in an Armchair (5.4) – Lara Williamson – Runner up 2016

For further ideas on books to read, please visit which has an array of resources and book ideas for teens and young adults.