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What Works Clearinghouse


Program Description1

Accelerated Reader is a guided reading intervention used to supplement regular reading instruction in K–12 classrooms. Its aim is to improve students’ reading skills through reading practice and quizzes on the books students read. The Accelerated Reader program calls for students to select and read a book and then take a computerized quiz based on the book’s content and vocabulary. The computer software then provides teachers with information on the students’ performance on the quiz, which allows teachers to monitor student progress and identify students who may need more reading assistance.


One study of Accelerated Reader that falls within the scope of the Adolescent Literacy review protocol meets What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards, and one study meets WWC evidence standards with reservations. The two studies included 2,877 students from grade 4 to grade 8 who attended elementary and middle schools in Oregon and Texas.3

Based on these two studies, the WWC considers the extent of evidence for Accelerated Reader on adolescent learners to be small for reading fluency and medium to large for comprehension. No studies that meet WWC evidence standards with or without reservations examined the effectiveness of Accelerated Reader on adolescent learners in the alphabetics or general literacy achievement domains.


Accelerated Reader was found to have no discernible effects on reading fluency or comprehension for adolescent learners.

Alphabetics Reading
Comprehension General literacy achievement
Rating of effectiveness na
No discernible effects No discernible effects na
Improvement index4




Average: +7 percentile

Range: +1 to +13 percentile points

Average: +3 percentile points

Range: –2 to +10 percentile points


na = not applicable

1 The descriptive information for this program was obtained from a publicly available source: the program’s website (, downloaded August 2009). The WWC requests developers to review the program description sections for accuracy from their perspective. Further verification of the accuracy of the descriptive information for this program is beyond the scope of this review. The literature search reflects documents publicly available by July 2009.
2 The studies in this report were reviewed using WWC Evidence Standards, Version 2.0 (see the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Chapter III), as described in protocol Version 2.0.
3 The evidence presented in this report is based on available research. Findings and conclusions may change as new research becomes available.
4 These numbers show the average and range of student-level improvement indices for all findings across the studies.