The Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) is striving to make great gains in student reading fluency and comprehension with a proficiency goal for all 3rd-grade students. The SBUSD adopted the Accelerated Reader Program almost three years ago to support the initiative. Students who participate in the Accelerated Reader (AR) program choose their own books from the Accelerated Reader book list, which contains more than 160,000 titles. Each of the 160,000 books is assigned a point value based on its length and readability. Students read selected books at their own pace and then take a test on the computer. The computer test consists of multiple-choice questions about important facts in the book. Most of the questions evaluate literal comprehension. In order to earn any points on a book, the student must answer at least 60 percent of the questions correctly on the test. Students may only test once for a given book. If students read too quickly, they score poorly because they are not reading with comprehension. When implemented according to design, teachers are expected to oversee students’ reading patterns. If a child’s test scores are too low, teachers intervene with advice on reading level and rates. The Accelerated Reader Program provides in-classroom libraries for grades K-3 – about 3,489 students district-wide, approximately 140 classrooms. The Santa Barbara Education Foundation is the fiscal agent for the program.
Santa Barbara Education Foundation
1330 State Street #201Santa Barbara, CA 93101