What is Accelerated Reader?

By Peg Rosen

At a glance

  • Accelerated Reader is a computer-based program that schools may use to monitor reading practice and progress.

  • It helps teachers guide kids to books that are at kids’ individual reading levels.

  • Kids take short quizzes after reading a book to check if they’ve understood it.

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a popular reading program used in schools. AR helps teachers track students’ independent practice and progress with reading. It’s not specifically designed for kids who learn and think differently. But teachers can use it to help guide struggling readers to books they can read successfully. 

The program doesn’t teach reading skills and strategies. It’s intended to encourage kids to read independently, at their own level and pace. While the program covers K–12, it’s mainly used in elementary schools and, to some extent, in middle schools.

The idea behind AR is that kids enjoy reading more when they can select their own books. (The program has more than 150,000 titles to choose from on its Bookfinder list.) 

Each book has online “reading practice” quizzes, which you may hear referred to as “AR tests.” Teachers use these quizzes to track each student’s progress and set appropriate goals for each.

A classroom teacher can work with the school district’s reading specialist or curriculum coordinator to track progress and set goals in the AR program.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Peg Rosen writes for digital and print, including

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.