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English Department

What are you reading?
English Department
English Department
Accelerated Reader...What Every Student and Parent Needs to Know



The Independent Reading Grade is part of a student's overall English grade. Fifty percent of the Independent Reading grade is based on the points earned for individual student goals, and fifty percent is based on percentage of overall comprehension. To earn full credit (100%) in Independent Reading, a student must earn the full points each quarter for his or her goal, and earn 100% comprehension on all A.R. quizzes. 


For example:  

Your quarterly points goal was 20.  You earned 18 points.  You met 90% of your points goal.  

Your comprehension score is an overall 80% average.

Your AR grade for the quarter will be an 85%= B


Select and read books from the accelerated reader list (check online), then take the matching quizzes.  You must select books within your Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) provided by the STAR reading assessment.  The Reading Record will be collected for the final grade on the due date each quarter.  Students may take their last test the day before the due date and turn in the completed record on the due date.


You can complete this assignment at your own speed, but you must have taken all the AR quizzes by the due date at the end of the Quarter.  Be aware, AR points are awarded according to the number of questions answered correctly on the quiz.  The points listed on the AR list are the maximum points possible.  Students who miss too many questions on a quiz may not earn any points for that book.


  1. Students may only take tests on books within their ZPD. A.R. is to improve a student's reading comprehension while also helping a student gradually increase their reading level.  In order for that to happen, a student must read in their ZPD. 
  2. Students must submit a completed Independent Reading Record, with parent signatures, for the A.R. grades and percentages to be counted.
  3. Students may take quizzes during homeroom, after school, and during independent work time during class.                                                                                                                           


  • Start reading your books and taking quizzes early in the quarter so that the stress of meeting the deadline doesn't give you test anxiety, and you will have time to make up missed points.  You also won't have the distractions of long lines and a noisy classroom while you take your quiz, if you test earlier in the quarter.
  • Read and pass at least one book.  Even earning an “F” in A.R. is better than a “0.”  A “0” can really hurt your overall grade.
  • Choose books that interest you so that you retain the information more easily.
  • Make sure the book isn't too difficult.
  • Choose shorter books so that there is less to remember over time.  You'll have to read more of them, but you'll be more successful at taking the tests.  If you do poorly on a shorter book, you haven't wasted a lot of time.
  • Read the book within two weeks so that the information at the beginning of the book is still fresh.
  • Avoid rushing through a book.
  • If you have trouble remembering things, take notes about the characters and of what happens in each chapter and review them before you come in to take your quiz.  You may NOT use your notes or book during the quiz.
  • *If you earn MORE than your points goal in the quarter, the points DO NOT carry over to the next quarter.

INTRODUCTION TO STEMS (Intro=into, duct=lead, tion=act or state)

Introduction literally means the act of leading someone into something.  This information is designed to lead you into the exciting world of understanding language through learning stems of words.


What are stems?

  • Stems are the building blocks of words.  They are small units of meaning that can stand alone or when joined with other stems can create new words.
  • Stems can be the prefixes, suffixes or roots of words.


Why learn stems?

  • Traditional vocabulary programs require students to memorize a list of words and their definitions.  If the student successfully memorizes the words than the finite number words may or may not become a part of the students’ personal vocabulary.
  • Learning vocabulary by learning stems, however, allows students to access the meaning of the hundreds of words that stem is a part of. Thus, students have a tool for deciphering new words wherever they encounter them. 
  • Having the skill to decipher unfamiliar words is valuable when reading challenging material or when taking tests such as the ACT, SAT, and other college entrance exams.


How will I use the stems?

You will be asked to use the stems in the following ways:

  • make flash cards for each stem (using index cards or a flashcard app)
  • study and memorize each stem and its meaning
  • answer questions which require you to know the stems
  • complete assignments using the words which contain stems
  • do various activities that involve using the stems including breaking down words into their stems, creating new words using stems, spelling and defining difficult words using the stems, etc.


How do I learn the stems?

  • The best way to learn the stems is by repetitive practice and use.
  • You should learn the stems thoroughly as soon as you get the new list.  Then review all your stems at least once a day to keep your knowledge fresh and work the stems into your long-term memory.
  • Remember your goal is to learn the stems, not just memorize them for one test.  Since you will have to remember past lists on each test, brief daily practice will help you more than cramming for hours the day before the test.   


How will I be tested on the stems?

  • Periodic tests on current list and past lists of stems
  • Every test is cumulative which means that you will be required to know not only the current list of stems but all the stems from the past lists. The final exam will contain all the stems lists for the year.


Sometimes Stems Change

  • It is important to know that when some stems attach to others their forms can change to make the word read more smoothly.
  • For example, the stem ex, which means out, can take the several forms (e, ef, ec) even though its meaning does not change.


By the end of the year, you should know the most common 180 stems and be able to use them.  

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