Intervention details

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Accelerated Reader

Strong for Primary reading
Limited for Secondary reading
UK Evaluated in the UK

Intervention description

Accelerated Reader is a supplementary programme that assesses pupils’ reading levels using internet-based software, and then prints out suggestions for reading materials at the appropriate level. Pupils read books or other materials, and then take tests on the computer to show their comprehension of what they have read. Pupils can earn recognition or rewards based on the number of tests that they have passed. Any evidence in support of the programme is based on a trained version.

Renaissance Learning also offer a comprehensive reform model for both primary and secondary which includes interventions in maths as well as professional development opportunities, organisation and management solutions, technical assistance, strategies for parental involvement, and a plan for annual evaluation.

Professional development/training

A programme of remote and on-site training accompanies the implementation of Accelerated Reader, additional professional development packages available on request.


Accelerated reader is a web based intervention. An interactive reading dashboard allows educators to see how well students are performing.

Evidence Summary

Nunnery and Ross (2003) found positive effects on comprehension for pupils in grade 5.

The Education Endowment Foundation recently ran a project investigating the effectiveness of Accelerated Reader, which found that it appears to be effective for weaker readers as a catch-up intervention at the start of secondary school.

The studies found a mean effect size of +0.20 in primary reading and +0.07 in secondary reading.

Strong for Primary reading
No. of studies 2
No. of students 1,802
Average effect size +0.20
Limited for Secondary reading
No. of studies 5
No. of students 9,625
Average effect size +0.07

Key research

The Education Endowment Foundation is now running a further project testing the intervention in more schools, the results should be available in summer 2018.

The Best Evidence Encyclopaedia (2009) rated Accelerated Reader as having limited evidence of effectiveness for secondary reading and no evidence of effectiveness for primary reading.

The What Works Clearinghouse (2008) found Accelerated Reader to have potentially positive effects on general reading achievement, mixed effects on comprehension and no discernible effects on reading fluency for beginning reading. It also found Accelerated Reader to have no discernible effects on reading fluency or comprehension for adolescent learners.

Nunnery and Ross (2007)

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