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Jacqualin Cundieff Action Research Proposal

Will using recommended practices of the Accelerated Reader program bring improved reading comprehension and reading ability for students in a selected third grade classroom?

Background
Packsaddle Elementary School is a relatively new elementary school located in a rural area of the Hill Country of Texas. It was built in 1999 to provide an elementary school for the lakes area of Llano ISD in Kingsland, located in eastern Llano County. This is the only school district in the county. Prior to its existence elementary students traveled to the city of Llano, approximately 20 miles away, to attend school. In 2010 there were 524 students with 40 teachers. According to the Texas Education Agency’s 2009-2010 Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) report the student ethnic make-up is 76.9% white, 21.9% Hispanic, and 1.2% other race. Of the 550 students 75% of them come from economically disadvantaged homes. There are 39.7% of those students considered at risk (Texas Education Agency (TEA), 2010). Packsaddle Elementary School was awarded the Recognized Rating for the 2009-2010 school year. Overall TAKS Reading scores for 2009-2010 school year were 88% passing with 30% commended performance. Students passing the TAKS Reading Test for third grade were 89%, fourth grade 81%, and fifth grade 92% (TEA, 2010). The Accelerated Reader program has been used in the school during its entire existence, but there seems to be inconsistent implementation of the best practices for the program. Teachers have concerns about students’ reading and comprehension ability, but haven’t seen the need to consistently implement the Accelerated Reader program. These concerns have prompted the purpose for this action research proposal. The researcher hopes the results of this local research can be shared with teachers at Packsaddle Elementary School to provide positive proof that addresses their concerns in the area of reading.

Research Question
Improving student’s reading and comprehension ability is important to all areas of a student’s education. Teachers at Packsaddle Elementary have concerns regarding student’s reading and comprehension ability. Accelerated Reader is a program used in the school, but not always used to its potential; therefore, the need was seen to provide local proof through this action research proposal. The guiding question for this action research proposal is: Will using recommended practices of the Accelerated Reader program bring improved reading comprehension and reading ability for students in a selected third grade classroom? Subsidiary Questions 1) How much time do students need to spend reading to be successful in their reading and comprehension?

The student earns points once they complete the test depending on the number of questions answered correctly. He goes on to state that the questions asked on the AR tests require factual information recall only.Cundieff 2 2) Does adjusting the ZPD help students who are having difficulty with passing tests? Literature Review The literature available on the use of Accelerated Reader (AR) is extensive. Students participating in the AR program choose a book to read. p. Vollands. Since Packsaddle Elementary is over 75% economically disadvantaged (TEA. A study done by the National Reading Panel states “comprehension is critically important to the development of children’s reading skills and therefore to the ability to obtain an education” (as cited in Johnson & Howard. Topping. The STAR Reading test will also give a zone of proximal development (ZPD) for the student. The use of rewards is an area that Persinger discussed as having “advantages and disadvantages” (as cited in Stefl-Mabry. and length of the book. The ZPD is a reading level range the student should be successful reading within. Topping. 2005). 2005). p. 2010) the researcher was especially interested in this particular study. The researcher decided that performing a local action research would be beneficial to answering the research question for the select third grade classroom. When considering the fact that there are several studies that reflect little or no benefit to using AR the researcher felt a need to explore some of these studies. 2005. 1999). These studies show positive growth for students participating. Vollands. When considering this factor the research question became more important to provide local research to support the use and success of the Accelerated Reader program. The test will take ten to 15 minutes and will give a grade equivalent (GE) score and an instructional reading level (IRL) for each student. For the program to work as it is designed there must be a minimum number of minutes of reading daily by students within their reading level (Stefl-Mabry. from a set list of books. General Design of Investigation The Language Arts teacher will test each student using the computerized STAR Reading test to determine the student’s reading level. reading level. and then they take a computer test on it once they have finished reading it. The results of this study should be helpful in a decision on the continued use of AR on Packsaddle Elementary School. but there is also literature from the opposing view. The information obtained . A study done by Brown suggests that AR encourages students to read. & Evans found the use of AR with economically disadvantaged youth in Scotland resulted in larger reading gains than the students who were not using the program (as cited in Stefl-Mabry. The student can use the points they earn to buy set rewards as they progress through the program. One area having a lot of discussion revolves around the implementation of the program. 2005. 4). 2003. but the comprehension results are limited (as cited in SteflMabry. 87). & Evans.

A Goal Setting Chart (Renaissance Learning. 2011) will be used to assist with this step. The next step will involve the teacher having a one-on-one conference with each student to review the results of their STAR Reading testing and to set some point goals for the students to achieve each week. The teacher will provide incentives to students as they earn points for passing AR Tests. See Appendix B 4) AR Diagnostic Reports-these reports will take all the information from the book. The students will also receive instruction as a class of how to record their reading progress and testing results on a reading log.Cundieff 3 from this test will provide a clear direction for the student’s success in using the Accelerated Reader program. Presentation of Findings The stakeholders at Packsaddle Elementary School are the students. There is a published Goal Setting Chart (Renaissance Learning. 2011)-this will be used to assist with the progress and will be used during the status of the class conference. The presentation of the results for the students will be made during a teacher/student conference. Parents would be advised of results by an individual conference. parents and administrators. and administrators will be made through the use of a combination of AR reports and the use of a PowerPoint presentation containing the AR reports information put on a chart graphing the beginning levels for the students with contrasting final results at the end of the research period. Since this is an ongoing process with the students the student will be the first one to receive results. instructional reading level. 2011) to follow to assist the teacher in this process that takes into account the amount of time the student will have to read independently and their GE. only general results. Data Collection Strategies 1) STAR Reading Testing (this will determine the reading level grade equivalent. See Appendix A 3) Student Reading Log (Renaissance Learning. At the end of the research period the STAR Reading test will be administered again as a post test to determine the amount of growth each student has made during this time. teachers. . librarian. reading level. and zone of proximal development)-will use pretest and post test 2) Status of the class (teacher conference with each student to set goals and review the results of their testing)-this will provide motivation and accountability for the student’s progress. librarian. The teacher will also view an AR Diagnostic Report at least once a week to monitor progress along with informal monitoring on a daily basis as students read and test. and score from test and average the data out. This log will be used to assist the teacher and student throughout the weeks to come to determine the amount of success the students is achieving when they have a weekly teacher/student conference called the status of the class. Specific results would be available to the principal and reading specialist. The presentation of results to teachers. The results would not contain student names. A written report would be available for parents unable to conference with the teacher.

& ZPD Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal Class instruction of using Student Reading Log Students begin choosing books. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. reading. Week 1 Timeline STAR Testing of all students to determine students GE. reading. A presentation of the results will be made at a convenient time following the post-testing using STAR Reading. reading. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. The teacher will also consult the AR Diagnostic Reports at least once a week to monitor student’s success along with informal daily monitoring during times students are reading and testing. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books.Cundieff 4 Time Line The action research will be conducted over a 13 week period. reading. reading. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. This will allow the students to pre-test using STAR Reading the 1st week and post-test the 13th week. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 . The teacher and students will conference at least once a week with students using the reading log daily. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. IRL. reading.

and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. reading. teachers. reading. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary STAR Testing of all students to determine students GE. reading. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. IRL. . librarian.Cundieff 5 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. and testing while the teacher does informal monitoring Teacher consults AR Diagnostic report at the end of the week-additional conferencing with students if necessary Teacher/Student conference to set weekly point goal and monitor resultsteacher provides incentives for students achieving their goals Students continue choosing books. administrators. & ZPD Evaluate the results of the study and prepare presentations to be made to students. and parents *The teacher may want to schedule a special incentive (party) during various intervals during the research period to reward the students for their hard work. reading. reading. reading.

Once the research receives approval the teacher will begin with the pre-testing. . There is no doubt that the principal will be in favor of proceeding with the study since the AR program is part of the school’s ongoing reading program.Cundieff 6 Conclusion The researcher will discuss the action research plan with the principal before implementation is started.

Cundieff 7 Appendix A .

Cundieff 8 Appendix B .

R. (1999).state. 3(3).us/cgi/sas/broker Vollands.tx. K. American Library Association. The Reading Matrix. 8. 87-96 Renaissance Learning.cfm#accelerated Texas Education Agency... (2011). J.Cundieff 9 References Johnson. S. Retrieved from http://www. Accelerated Reader. The effects of the Accelerated Reader program on the reading comprehension of pupils in grades three. (2005). Topping.com/ar/ Stefl-Mabry.renlearn. 197-211. & Howard. (2003). C. & Evans. (2010). R. Retrieved November 3.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/slmrb/editorschoiceb/bestoferic /besteric. Computer-aided reading promotion: Accelerated Reading-silent sustained reading camouflaged in a computer program? School Library Media Research.ala. R. Retrieved from http://www.1080/105735699278189 . Computerized self-assessment of reading comprehension with the Accelerated Reader: Action research. J. Reading & Writing Quarterly. 2011 from http://ritter. and five. 2009-10 Academic Excellence Indicator System. M. 15(3). four.tea. doi:10.