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Promising findings for Accelerated Reader

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Accelerated Reader (AR) is a literacy catch-up intervention. A new article published in Educational Review describes a randomised controlled trial (RCT) in which pupils using AR achieved higher literacy scores than children in a control group.

AR is widely used worldwide, and over 2,000 schools in the UK use it on a regular basis. It is a web-based reading programme intended to encourage pupils in independent book reading. The system allows teachers to monitor pupils’ reading levels and progress, and use this information to support appropriate book selection and motivate them in achieving advanced reading levels.

Four mixed urban secondary schools were involved in the trial. 349 pupils in Year 7 who had not reached National Curriculum Level 4 in their Key Stage 2 results for English were randomised to two groups. The intervention group (n= 166) used AR for 20 weeks, after which they achieved higher literacy scores in the New Group Reading Test (NGRT) than the control group pupils (n= 183); an effect size of +0.24.

This RCT was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). In a novel approach, the schools involved applied independently to the EEF for funding to set up a programme for AR and simultaneously evaluate its impact. The schools were invited to co-operate so that the scale would be sufficient for an ’aggregated’ efficacy trial. You can find out more about the project on the EEF website.

Source: Accelerated Reader as a Literacy Catch-up Intervention During Primary to Secondary School Transition Phase (2015), Educational Review.

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