Using an Accelerated Reader program may be a standard reading approach to elementary-level teachers but new to parents and young students. It is a computerized reading management program that can motivate – even the most reluctant readers – to read.
Fifth and sixth grade Language Arts teacher, Ms. Amy Rollins from Indian Trail Intermediate School in Johnson City, TN, is currently using the Accelerated Reader program with Big Universe titles daily. Her students choose a book, which is preselected to be within his/her reading level, then answer a comprehension quiz, receiving immediate feedback on performance. She is able to monitor all her students through Big Universe.
Ms. Rollins finds that the greatest benefit to using Big Universe is “so many titles are AR. Since most books are non-fiction, it doesn’t take the students long to read one and then go take an AR test on the book.” She explains that reading comprehension of non-fiction titles is a much-needed skill for students because “Nonfiction is what all adults have to read, especially ‘Informational Text.’ It’s a life skill. Fiction will only be read as an adult by choice. Most elementary students in lower grades spend a lot of time reading fiction stories. Only in recent years has there been an emphasis on nonfiction. In addition, when it comes to testing, more and more test passages are long, nonfiction pieces.”
One of her classroom challenges is finding high-interest titles that appeal to boys, and Ms. Rollins maintains that “The Big Universe high-interest topics make it perfect for reluctant readers, especially boys. I think a lot of teachers will agree that it’s easier to get girls interested in reading than boys. In most classroom libraries, there will be many fiction stories/books to choose from, but not many nonfiction titles. Boys tend to want to read nonfiction. It’s higher interest (sports, bugs, animals, space, etc.) as opposed to fiction. There will be a few reluctant readers that are girls, but most are boys. Either way, it’s easier to get them to read a shorter, nonfiction book than a long chapter book. Chapter books are overwhelming to a reluctant reader.”
“My reluctant readers want to get on Big Universe every day.” She adds that two of her students have previously struggled to reach their AR goal, but experienced a reading breakthrough. “Finally, in the 5th grade, they attained their AR goal, thanks to Big Universe reading selections!”
She adds, “Becoming a better reader takes practice. Big Universe allows students to practice reading more than ever before! And they love it!”
Check out the array of AR books from Big Universe: http://www.biguniverse.com/readkidsbooks/all#atos_level