Accelerated Reader is a web-based programme that aims to encourage independent reading by suggesting books that suit individual learners’ reading age and interests.
An Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)-funded study into the use of Accelerated Reader in England found that pupils who used the programme recorded higher literacy scores than those who did not. Statistical analysis revealed an overall effect size of +0.24 in favour of the Accelerated Reader programme. This effect is equivalent to around three months’ extra progress in reading ages during the 22-week study. The effect size was larger (+0.38) for pupils in receipt of free school meals, but the smaller number of pupils (n=115) made this finding less secure. Overall, the trial involved 349 pupils across four secondary schools. The EEF rated the evidence from the study as moderate (3 out of 5) on their scale of evidence security.
Among the report’s main conclusions were:
Accelerated Reader appears to be effective for weaker readers as a catch-up intervention at the start of secondary school.
A well-stocked library with a wide collection of books banded according to the Accelerated Reader readability formula and easy access to computers with internet connection, are the main requirements for successful implementation.
Pupils at very low levels of reading may not be independent readers and would need initial support from a teacher to start reading books.