How to Keep Up with an Accelerated Reader

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Blog, She Wrote How to Keep up with an Accelerated Reader

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If you’ve ever had an accelerated reader in your home, then you know it is a challenge to keep up with what they read and to keep them in books. They read everything and anything they can get their hands on and as a parent you are constantly on the search for a good read for your child. Today’s post is all about How to Keep Up with an Accelerated Reader.

Do You Have an Accelerated Reader?

The simple definition of an accelerated reader is someone who reads well at an early age. All of our kids are accelerated readers. They tackled big books at a young age. The biggest challenge of having an accelerated reader comes when they are young. The older your readers get, the easier it is.

It’s important to point out though,  that typically we think of early readers as being “accelerated” readers. They head out of the starting gate at a full run and keep a steady pace. Keeping them in good supply of appropriately challenging books is a key to nurturing the early start.

However, you can have accelerated readers that begin reading more on a typical schedule for emerging readers. Once they catch on, they begin to read everything in sight and just because they didn’t start super early doesn’t mean they haven’t caught up to the fast pace of reading books and don’t have the capability to read more difficult books. Some of our children fall in to this category.

Blog, She Wrote How to Keep up with an Accelerated Reader

The Challenge of Having an Accelerated Reader

In my experience, there are three things that present the most difficult hurdle when you have a student who reads voraciously.

  • Finding books that are emotionally appropriate for their reading level & still a challenging read for them. Just because a student can read what kids in high school are reading when he is 6, doesn’t mean he should. Worse than reading books that are no longer challenging, is reading books that are inappropriate for kids of a younger age.
  • Pre-reading fast enough to find out if a book is off the mark for your child or not. Accelerated readers need new books all the time. Keeping up with them is difficult.
  • As they grow, they get more discerning. This is actually true of any reader who has been exposed to good books whether or not they are ahead of the reading game. I have observed over the years as my children have read a lot of good books, they have little tolerance for books which are not.

As Gladys Hunt says in Honey for a Teen’s Heart,

Excellence has a way of eliminating inferior products.

In practical terms, this means that finding a good book gets a little harder especially since they read so quickly! That’s all the more reason to find a good source of information on books.

Strategies for Managing an Accelerated Reader

  • Pre-Read Books You’d Like Your Student to Read– At our house, my husband is the pre-reader. Unencumbered with the daily tasks of homeschooling and being a fast reader makes him a prime candidate for this job. If I see a book or series of books that I think might be appropriate, I bring it home and set him to work. In one evening he’ll be able to tell whether or not our younger kids should try the book. He’s read a lot of good books over the years and it gives our children the incentive to read his suggestions. Once their dad has read it, then they know that he can share what’s going on in that good book with them. We’ve seen some wonderful conversations over the years that have begun because of a book they’ve shared together. I’ll share more about book discussions in another post.
  • Ask Around about Books– If you don’t have a good system in place for pre-reading, then there are other ways to be more certain about a book choice. One is to ask around. Ask family, friends, and online homeschooling forum/Facebook buddies about a book. Chances are someone has some experience with it and can tell you about the book. It’s important to take information from others and discern for yourselves if a book is right for your family.
  • Read Books about Books– Another way is to get your hands on some books about books. These authors have specialized in sharing good books with their audience. I’ve got a list of our favorites below.

Blog She Wrote How to Keep Up with an Accelerated Reader

Books about Books

A post on voracious readers would be incomplete without some information on books! This is a list of books which have annotated bibliographies in them telling you something about the good books on their list. These are my favorites:

Resources for Raising Readers

Reading & books is a significant part of our homeschool culture. Below you’ll find other valuable posts on reading here at Blog, She Wrote along with a few Pinterest boards on the topic.

Nurturing our good readers means having a print rich environment and making sure that trips to the library are a priority. We have had so many books home from the library at our house sometimes we wonder if there are enough still on the shelves for others! I’m sure this is a familiar scene in the homes of most homeschoolers. Keeping track of which books come home and steering them toward the good stuff is the task at hand.

I encourage you to find the resources you need to help your kids make good decisions about books. If you should happen to make a poor judgment, all is not lost. Sometimes those less than discerning moments give us opportunities to have good discussions with our kids.

Enjoy the journey with your accelerated reader. Chances are they will take you to places you’ve not been before through their adventures with books and it gives you as the parent a special role as adventure guide.


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  1. Thank you for this thoughtful post! Sometimes, amidst all the other homeschool work, I end up chasing instead of leading my readers. This is a great reminder with useful strategies.

    Do you know: “Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Preschool to High School”? It’s an invaluable resource in addition the gems you’ve listed above. Judith Wynn Halstead lists important emotional skills and books targeted for them, then provides synopses allowing parents (teachers) to ask focused questions. I think you’d like it, Heather.

    1. Sounds like a great book Jennifer! Thanks for sharing it. We try to stay ahead around here. And once you have high schoolers, the game changes again because they want to discuss books WITH you! ha

      1. Fabulous book recommendation with “Some of My Best Friends Are Books” (you beat me to it, Jennifer!)

        Also, hold your local public children’s librarian’s feet to the fire. They (we, lol) are trained to help you find the books you need. If you’ve got a good children’s librarian, she can help you locate books that are developmentally appropriate that don’t conflict with your family’s values AND can be challenging to your reader.

        That said, don’t be afraid to let your child read at or below their current reading level. Books should be enjoyed. Many advanced readers skip picture books because they’re in such an all-fire hurry to read at “their capabilities” and as a result they miss wonderful stories that spark imagination and are just wonderful!

        Look , too, for nonfiction titles. I find a lot of young readers will jump into series fiction and there is so much good stuff in juvenile nonfiction.

        Hope this helps 🙂

  2. This is my daughter. She has just started really reading independently in the last few weeks. And she has read three chapter books in that time She certainly took off running! She is constantly running off to her room to read more. I love it but I’m also worried about keeping up with her. This has been a great (and very timely) read!

  3. Excellent resources! This is probably one of the biggest challenges we have on a day-to-day basis. Trying to keep ahead of my daughter can be exhausting but you’ve given me some ideas. Thank you!

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