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Love of reading fostered through AR program

WORTHINGTON -- Students at Worthington's Prairie Elementary are doing no shortage of reading and continue to make progress thanks to the Accelerated Reader (AR) program.

WORTHINGTON -- Students at Worthington's Prairie Elementary are doing no shortage of reading and continue to make progress thanks to the Accelerated Reader (AR) program.

That was the message delivered to students' parents and guardians during AR Day programs hosted Wednesday and Thursday at the school. Prairie Elementary's nine second-grade teachers combined to lead four programs in all, during which the school's reading curriculum was discussed and students read to family members.

One of the two AR programs on Thursday included members of the classes of teachers Laurie Landwehr and Kris Doeden.

"These young children will be doing AR reading all the way through eighth grade," Landwehr explained. "It's just kind of nice for parents to understand why we do it and how it works."

AR books can be obtained at Prairie Elementary and Worthington Middle School, and can be spotted by a red tab along a book's spine. They are also available at Nobles County Library, though the books aren't marked with the tabs.

Earlier in the school year, Landwehr said, students completed a Star Assessment reading test that is designed to reflect reading ability. Results establish a ZPD --Zone of Proximal Development -- for each students that enable them and their teachers to select "just right" books.

"We want them to be able to read a book pretty well, most or all of the words, with maybe a struggle every 10th word or so," Landwehr said, adding that students subsequently test on the books they read. With a point system also established based upon the Star Assessment test, students begin to accumulate points as they take tests and advance toward a designated AR goal.

"The test goal is 80 to 85 percent correct," Landwehr said. "If a student is getting 60 (regularly), we probably need to move the level of book down a little bit."

Students' parents and guardians were given data during this week's AR programs that detailed successes of their children. One measurement given was an IRL (Independent Reading Level).

"If an IRL is 2.5, the child is reading like a second-grader in the fifth month of school," Landwehr said. "An example of a ZPD ... if a student has a ZPD of 2.3-3.3, the books they should be reading are between second grade third month and third grade third month."

Also presented were individual student record reports, which included a list of every book a child had read thus far during the school year, how they fared on each corresponding test and the average reading level of all the books.

Landwehr and Doeden encourage students to have 60 minutes of reading per week -- either a child reading to a parent, vice-versa or together. Practicing reading comprehension is also important, they said.

Plenty of information on student reading is also available through the District 518 website, Doeden noted. By going to and clicking on "Prairie Elementary" and then "Destiny," parents can see a composite list of library books, and sear h by zone to find "just right" books.

By clicking on "Renaissance Home Connect," and entering the student's user name and password, results for read books and tests can also be viewed. Scores from AR tests can also be obtained via email by those who sign up for the service.

Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at


Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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