• Independent Reading Program (IRP)

    6th Grade Challenge Students

    Skyview Upper Elementary

     Dear Sixth Grade Parents/Guardians,


    One of the most important things we can do is to encourage our students to read! Columbia University Teachers Reading and Writing Project has noted, “There is research evidence which suggests that volume of reading is linked to attaining higher-order literacy proficiencies (Allington, 2012; Brozo et al, 2008, Cipielewski & Stanovich, 1992). Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988) researched the relationship between the amount of reading done and reading achievement. They found that the amount of time reading was the best predictor of reading achievement.  More recently, in her article, Independent Reading and School Achievement, Cullinan (2000) reviewed the research on the effects of independent reading for the purpose of informing policy makers, curriculum developers, parents, teachers, and librarians about the importance of independent reading and programs that support it. The review concludes that independent reading, defined as the reading students choose to do, supports learning and school achievement. Providing students with protected reading time is necessary in order to support their growth in reading” (Teachers Reading Writing Project Website).


    In an effort to boost our students’ reading skills, the reading department at Skyview would like to introduce the Independent Reading Program (IRP).  IRP is a requirement for this school year. Each child will be given a differentiated reading goal for their IRP. To help determine each child’s goal, your child has taken the STAR reading assessment, which will assign your student a specific number of points to read during each marking period.  The STAR test also determines the zone of proximal development (ZPD), which shows a range of book levels that would help to grow your student as a reader and meet his/her current reading level needs. Books in the Skyview library are labeled with book level information. Students may choose books that are of interest to them.   Although the ZPD provides a general range in which the students can read, the students are not strictly limited to books that fall within this level. Reading slightly below or slightly above the ZPD level will be considered. Over the years, participation in the IRP has shown to boost reading fluency, stamina, and comprehension.  Each week, some time in school will be devoted to reading independently for the IRP.


    Accelerated Reader is a web-based program that utilizes quizzes to assess general comprehension of the books read.  The program generates information for students, teachers, and parents on student progress and allows teachers to monitor independent reading.  After students complete a book, they will take an Accelerated Reader (AR) quiz. Students are expected to meet their individualized reading goal for each marking period with scores of at least 80% on each assessment.  To determine the reading level and point value of a book, please visit the Skyview website for a link to AR Bookfind or go directly to www.arbookfind.com.  Your child’s teacher and librarian will be happy to help with high interest novel suggestions. When students read at least 20 minutes daily, they are typically successful with meeting the goals of IRP.  As your child reads, ask questions about his/her reading - main ideas, characters, plot, and summarizing are good discussion points. If you find that your child is struggling, have him/her speak to his/her teacher to see if the book is at an appropriate level.  


    Please read the information on the reverse side.  When you are finished, please make sure to sign and return the last page to indicate that you and your child understand the expectations of IRP.   Thank you for supporting your child’s education. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.


    We appreciate your support in encouraging your child to read.




    Mrs. Gorla and Mr. Shatzman

    Independent Reading Program (IRP)

    Frequently Asked Questions


    • How do you choose a book for your IRP?


    Look at your ZPD range and then go to www.Arbookfind.com to find an interesting book in your range OR you can find a book you like and check www.Arbookfind.com to see if it is in your range.  If a book is a slightly above or slightly below your range and you want to try it, check in with your teacher.


    • Who can you ask to help you with choosing an AR book?


    Your teacher, librarian, parents, or a trusted friend.


    • When can you go to the school library to choose books?


    Either on our scheduled library day or during an 8th period when you are free.


    •  What is a ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development)?


    Your ZPD is a range of books that is just right for you.  They will challenge you, but aren’t so hard they frustrate you.  They are also not too easy for you!


    •  Where can you find your ZPD range?


    Your teacher will provide you with your ZPD and will be updated as you grow as a reader.


    • Can your ZPD change during the school year?


    Yes, we hope so!  As you learn new reading skills and practice them, your ZPD should gradually trend upwards.


    • What if your book isn’t listed on AR bookfind?


    Please see Mr. Shatzman before reading the unlisted book for possible IRP inclusion.  


    • Where should you keep the AR book you are reading?


    You should take it home and bring it back to school each day.  Take it home so you can do

    your “Read for 20 minutes daily” homework.


    • How many AR quizzes do you take each marking period?


    This will depend on each student’s individualized reading goal. You will have a point goal each marking period.  Remember that each book is assigned a point value by Accelerated Reader (AR). You can see how many points a book is worth on www.ARbookfind.com.


    • How do you get credit for completing a book for your IRP?


    Just let your Reading teacher know when you have finished a book and you are ready to take the AR quiz.  AR quizzes need to be taken in the presence of your Reading teacher. Flex periods and 8th period are great times to take AR quizzes.  After you finish the AR quiz, record your AR score on your book log. When you earn a 80% or better on the AR quiz, you will receive the full point value for the book.


    • Can you take AR quizzes at home?


    You cannot take AR quizzes at home.  They are available in school only.


    • Can you re-take an AR quiz on the same book?


    You can usually only take one quiz on a title.  If you are having trouble earning a 80% or better on a quiz, talk to your teacher to see if he can reset your quiz after you have reviewed the book again.


    • Does your ZPD level matter in your grade?


    Your ZPD level is your personal reading range, so it does not count in your grade.


    • What percentage of the reading grade is IRP?


    The IRP percentage will be 10% of the total Reading grade each marking period. The student must receive a 80% or higher on the AR test in order to earn the point value assigned to the book.


    • Can I earn extra credit for reading more than my required points in a marking period?


    Yes!  Extra credit opportunities will be available to students who read more than their required points in a marking period.


    Some additional notes for parents:

    • What can I do to help my reluctant reader be successful with IRP?

    We want all students to feel successful and we will work with them. Students or parents who feel they are struggling with the IRP requirements are encouraged to talk with the teacher.  Students may also benefit from using audible books so they can hear the book while they read along. The Skyview Library and the Lower Providence Community Library have a selection of audible books available.


    • What if my child chooses a book with questionable content?


    We highly encourage the parent to be aware of what your child is reading.  The student must have parental approval if the book is considered MG+ or UG (middle grade plus or upper grade).  An IRP Content Contract must be signed and attached to the IRP log. ARbookfind.com will show the rating of all books.

    *Parents make the final decision about what books are appropriate for their child.




    Do you prefer to read the same genre or author of a book series? 

    Challenge students will be required to "tour the genres" by reading one required genre book and passing the AR test with an 80% per month (or months).

    Here is our Challenge Reading Game Plan:

    September & October = Biography and/or Autobiography

    November & December = Science Fiction

    January = Realistic Fiction 

    February & March = Fantasy and/or Mythology

    April = Nonfiction

    May = Mystery and/or Graphic Novel*

    Please note: Students may read only 2 books consecutively of the same author/genre. However, after reading a different or assigned genre, students may read books of their preference, with an AR (Accelerated Reader) test in their ZPD range.


    *Any Graphic Novels MUST be approved by Mr. Shatzman prior to being read.