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Girls, Football, and Sportsmanship
by Mary Schneider
Should girls play football? What should be done about bad sportsmanship? These two topics are what students wrote an editorial about in Mrs. Schneider’s sixth-grade reading class. After reading a play, “Forward Pass”, about a girl joining the high school football team and an article about sportsmanship titled, “Foul Play”, students had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the topics.
The students who chose to write about girls playing football were pretty evenly divided as to whether girls should have the option to play. As far as the growing issue of bad sportsmanship with players and fans, well, most of them felt it is ridiculous and uncalled for, and there should be punishments of some sort. Many of them stated, “It’s just a game!” There are winners and losers so get over it!”
From the mouths of babes comes wise advice.

What’s For Dinner?

by Tim Mattson
Specifically, what has an owl been eating? The fifth grade students are attempting to find out by dissecting an “owl pellet”, a small pellet the owl regurgitates containing the fur and bones of its prey. The students are really excited to find the different bones of what the owl has eaten.  By comparing the bones to a bone chart the students might find everything from a mouse to a bird. It is amazing how small some of the bones can be.

What is Accelerated Reader (AR)
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children choose their own books at their own reading level. When finished, the student takes a short quiz which tests their reading comprehension. The student receives immediate feedback which the teacher then uses to help set your child’s reading goal and direct ongoing reading practice.
Purpose of Accelerated Reader
Reading is one of the great joys of life and crucial to everything we do as active members of society.  Accelerated Reader (AR) is a research based program, when implemented according to guidelines, shows improved reading skills which results in a higher pass rate for all subjects.  AR is an individualized reading program designed to support and enhance the current comprehensive reading  program, not to replace it. Its purpose is to enable powerful practice at the right level of difficulty.  As with every skill, it requires not just instruction but a lot of practice to improve!  
Key Concepts
For best practice, there must be a good match between the individual and the level of books he/she is reading. 
Practicing with books that are too easy results in very little growth and leads to boredom. Reading books that are too hard can result in frustration. Each student has a level at which optimal learning takes place. This level is known as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). This level is determined by collecting baseline data from a variety of tests and by recommendation of the classroom teacher.

To help guide students to the correct level, each book provides three pieces of information: the book level, the interest level, and the points.  The book level represents the difficulty of the text. The interest level indicates for which age group the book’s content is appropriate. The points are based on the length and difficulty of the book.
Because the AR program is individualized, each student may have a personalized point goal to reach. Therefore your student may have a different number of points to achieve for each quarter than another student of a different reading ability.  These goals take into account each student’s ability level and enable each student to succeed and grow at a rate and level best suited to that student.
For maximum growth, AR recommends an hour of reading practice per day.  Lower achieving students generally gain more than higher achieving students because they had been getting little or no practice before, so additional practice benefits them proportionally much more, but high achievers still benefit from the increased practice.
How AR Works
To fulfill the recommended  reading practice, daily reading practice needs to be engaged at home as well as within school.  The classroom teacher will set individualized reading goals for each student, and with the assistance of the librarian, help guide students to find books within their reading level.  Students select and read library books that match their individual ability levels and interest. 
Research shows that comprehension is the most important factor in reading growth.  When a student finishes a book, he or she takes an AR Reading Practice Quiz, Literacy Skills test and/or Vocabulary Quiz on the computer. Students are encouraged to strive to score an average of 85-90% on the Reading Practice Quiz.  This indicates they are reading books at the right difficulty level to challenge them.  AR scores the comprehension quiz, keeps track of the results and generates meaningful reports that help the teacher monitor each student’s progress  and make adjustments to the practice routine so the student will make the greatest gains. It also helps guide them to appropriate books for future reading.
Upon successful completion of the test, the student is awarded points that can be used to purchase items from the AR Store.  The store is open once per quarter, and has a variety of items for students to choose from at different point levels.
AR is Web-based

What does this mean for you? Students have access to all of the AR tests that have been written. They have access to more than 150,000 Reading Practice Quizzes, over 800 Literacy Skills Quizzes, and over 10,000 Vocabulary Quizzes. To check whether a Reading Practice Quiz is available, the best location to look is AR Bookfinder: http://www.arbookfind.com/
With just a few clicks, you can search for titles at the appropriate level that your child will find interesting and enjoyable.
In addition, the web version improves the school-to-home connection by allowing students and parents to log into a website to monitor the student’s reading progress toward their goal and encourage their child’s reading practice.  Access to online results can make reading practice even more effective.  Research confirms that parental involvement in a child’s education is a strong predictor of student achievement.
Each family will receive instruction on setting up their Renaissance Home Connect account.
For questions regarding how the AR program is used in your child’s classroom, please check with your child's reading teacher.                                                                                                                                 


The 7th and 8th grade students in resource study skills class have access to their class website. The website includes the following information: assignments, assignment directions, student websites, and parental information such as teacher contact information and rights and rules for students served on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
To access the website:

7th and 8th grade students have their username and password information. If you have difficulty accessing the site please contact Mrs. Kruse. 
Mrs. Kruse
(308) 995-5421 ex. 233