By: Zora Zaric
Reading is a skill and as with every skill, it requires not just instruction, but practice. Regular users of Accelerated Reader (AR) will be familiar with Reading Practice (RP) Quizzes. There is a RP Quiz attached to every book in the AR Catalogue, which currently sits at close to 50,000 titles and is being updated every day! RP Quizzes are a great indicator of comprehension on a general level and are used to track progress and motivate students to engage in reading a range of texts and seeing these texts through to completion.
RP Quizzes serve several purposes. They enable students to apply the skills and strategies that have been taught and provides teachers with opportunities to check for understanding and identify weaknesses. RP Quizzes assist in the monitoring and personalisation reading practice, encourage substantial amounts of practice and make reading practice fun for students by facilitating successful engagement with texts.
Students who use AR regularly enjoy tracking their word count and points when they complete a RP Quiz successfully, but how many of us use the Vocabulary Practice (VP) and the Literacy Skills (LS) Quizzes?
Accelerated Reader promotes students’ vocabulary development with the use of Vocabulary Practice Quizzes. These quizzes offer an innovative research-based approach for accelerating vocabulary growth and heightening students’ interest in words. VP Quizzes ask students to identify correct definitions for vocabulary words from books they have read. The words chosen for each book are at the reading level of the book or higher, used three or more times in the book, significant to the meaning of the book and are often useful in everyday conversation.
Currently there are over 800 titles with Vocabulary Practice Quizzes. Students can take a VP Quiz following the successful completing of their RP Quiz. These quizzes track over time and will show students “First Try Words”, “Second Try Words” and “Review Words”. If a student defines a word incorrectly, it will appear when the student takes another VP Quiz as a “Second Try Word” – attempting to expose students to vocabulary a number of times to give them multiple opportunities to learn the definition.
Teachers should be aware that by using the “Manage Books and Quizzes” Section of AR, they have access to the entire suite of quizzes and can use VP Quizzes as a resource in class. Start by finding a text that the majority of the class would be able to comprehend (i.e. falls into the ZPD Reading Range of most students), present the students with the Vocabulary List and devise activities around the list for the next week or fortnight. Consider introducing a “Word of the Day” or encouraging students to use the words in their writing for that lesson. At the end of the week/fortnight, have students log into AR and Search for the text and take the Vocabulary Practice Quiz!
Finally, have you considered using quizzes with senior students or a wider range of classes? There are a large number of books that also have Literacy Skills Quizzes. LS Quizzes monitor growth in 24 skills often focused on in assessments and standardised exams. Looking at aspects of Literary Analysis, Inferential Comprehension and Constructing Meaning, LS Quizzes provide students with more targeted questions that will promote higher order skills and critical thinking. The range of LS Quizzes can also be accessed via the “Manage Books and Quizzes” section of AR and all customers have access to Teacher Guides on some of the most commonly taught texts via our resources page – https://help.renlearn.co.uk/AR/LSAUTeacherGuides
Each guide will vary depending on the complexity of the texts but will offer teachers a synopsis, character list, key vocabulary, opportunities and examples of teachable skills and open-ended questions that can be used as the basis for class discussions, student presentations, or extended written responses.
We hope you’ll be able to see the benefits of using the entire suite of AR quizzes in your school!
We’re always looking for new and inventive ways to use AR so if you have any strategies that have been working well with your classes, drop us a line at [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you!