THE IMPACT OF THE ACCELERATED READER PROGRAM ON ELEMENTARY STUDENTS’ READING TAKS SCORES IN AN URBAN PREDOMINANTLY HISPANIC TITLE I SCHOOL
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Many students continue to struggle with acquiring the necessary skills to become successful readers. The most commonly used software for teaching reading is the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the Accelerated Reader program on elementary students’ reading TAKS scores in an urban predominantly Hispanic Title I school. Namely, the study investigated the relationship among the amount of time spent reading, amount of reading, average AR test scores, and students’ reaching AR goal in the Accelerated Reader Program, and students’ reading achievement, as measured by the state high stakes standardized test, Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Archival data contained AR reading records and TAKS reading scores for 300 elementary students in an urban predominantly Hispanic Title I school during 2007- 2008 and 2008-2009 school years was analyzed. A correlation design was utilized for this ex-post facto study to determine if a correlation exists between the reading achievement of the students, as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill reading tests and the implementation of Accelerated Reader Program as measured by Engaged time in reading, AR points, AR average scores, and AR goal. The results showed there are low to moderate correlation between the Accelerated Reader program’s major components AR Engaged Time, AR points, AR average correct, AR goal, and The TAKS reading test. Surprisingly, we found very 1 provocative results; 100% of the students who did not pass TAKS-Reading also did not reach their AR Goal; 100% of the students who reach their AR goals also passed TAKS reading tests. In addition, the researchers found limited empirical support for “Matthew effect” in reading, as evidenced by low to moderate correlations and small amount of variance explained. Importantly, there was significant variation in program implementation by teacher and grade level. Practical implications for elementary school reading instruction are discussed.