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Our Reading Strategies

February 22, 2017
By Sandy Martinez

Throughout your child's elementary years at Sunnyside Christian School, we place a high emphasis on reading. We use two tools to help us measure the progress of our students' reading: the STAR reading test and Accelerated Reader (AR). Our third grade teacher, Mrs. Sandy Martinez, has put together this overview of these two programs. Let us know if you have any further questions!

  1. What are the reading tools SCS uses to measure reading?

STAR Reading Test—This test is taken online at school to assess students’ reading levels. Each test has 34 items of varying, adaptive difficulty, based on student responses. Both reading comprehension and vocabulary proficiency are tested.

Accelerated Reader—AR is an online reading quiz program at school that allows

 A fourth grade students takes an AR quiz.

students to demonstrate how well they understand the books they read. Thousands of book titles are available in the AR quiz library. The books are leveled by grade level and assigned a point value based on length and difficulty.

  1. Why do we use them?

STAR Reading Test—This short test is just one tool used to guide teachers in their reading instruction. It gives teachers good information about student and class progress. Many reports are available to show information about a variety of specific reading skills.

Accelerated Reader—AR is a great tool to give teachers a quick snapshot of how well a student comprehends what he/she is reading. Based on how a student is doing on his/her quizzes, a teacher can make informed recommendations for more books that will be good for that particular student.

  1. How do we know our child’s reading level?

The STAR Reading Test results include your child’s reading level. You will see a Grade Equivalent (GE) score. A GE of 3.4 means that your child is reading at the level of a 3rd grader in the 4th month of school. Your child’s teacher will be able to share that information with you once the STAR test has been taken.

  1. How do we find books that our child can read and be challenged by?

Also included in the STAR Reading Test results is a suggested range of book levels for your child to use while choosing books. Books selected in this reading level range will allow your child to experience the most success while reading. Choosing books at the higher end of the range will provide the most challenge for your child. Our school library books have been labeled with the books’ reading levels and the number of points each book is worth.

Our fourth grade students "buddy up" with first grade
students to help them take their AR quizzes.

** Note—Just because a child can read well above his/her grade level doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she should. Careful consideration of the content of a book should also be taken into account when choosing a book.

** is a great website that shows you if a book is an AR book and what level it is. You can also do an advanced search to look for books that are at a certain level, about a particular topic, or by a favorite author.

** There are also several apps available that allow you to scan a book’s bar code to see if it is an AR book and what level it is.

  1. What is important while children are learning to read and learning to love reading?

Books, books, and more books!! Surround yourself and your children with all kinds of things to read! Magazines, comics, recipes, road signs, word puzzles…be excited with your children as they recognize the letters and words they are learning at school.

Let them see you reading. Read to them every day! Use different voices! Make it fun. Take turns reading. Stop at the exciting parts….to be continued! Build the anticipation! Go to the library together. Read a variety of books about a variety of things. Search book stores and thrift stores for good books to read over and over.

When you find a book your child enjoys, find more like it by the same author or about the same topic. Talk to your child’s teacher if your child is reluctant to read. Ask for suggestions. Let reading take you and your child on countless adventures together!