KAL students use accelerated reading program

"Pretty cool" is how Leah Ott describes the Accelerated Reader program at Kingman Academy of Learning Middle School.

The district purchased the program last year but needed time to build up a library of book titles that could be tested on computers with the program, according to eighth-grade language arts teacher Margaret Smith.

Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades began using the program this fall.

"You read a book and test on it right away so your teacher knows if you really read it," Ott said.

"It tests me on how well I read.

When I took the test for the first time, I missed one question because I'd forgotten what I read."

Ott, an eighth-grader, answered nine of 10 multiple-choice questions correctly on "Cheerleaders, the First Evil." It's a mystery written by R.L.

Stine.

Academy students have reported on books during group "book talks" for four years, Smith said.

Accelerated Reader is an extension of book talks.

"We wanted to get the kids something more substantial," she said.

"With Accelerated Reader, students read a book, take a quiz (on computer), and we immediately get a printed-out report that lets us see at what level the student is reading."

Books at the school are marked to show which ones are incorporated into the Accelerated Reader program.

But the reader does not know at which level the book is rated until taking the quiz.

Ott was surprised to find out the Stine book is geared to fourth-graders.

Smith said the academy began with 20 discs and now has a library of 500 book titles, 300 of which are on the Accelerated Reader program.

Parent volunteers helped alphabetize the selections, she said.

Some genres are part of Arizona standards and are mandatory reading, such as mystery or adventure books during October, Smith said.

But students enjoy reading more with Accelerated Reader because of the many choices.

Quizzes, all in multiple-choice question format, vary in length by the book title.

"The kids are tested on reading comprehension, vocabulary and different elements of literature such as theme and plot," Smith said.

"The goal is to have every student read 60 minutes per day.

As students finish early in other classes, they can read if their teacher allows it."