Quizzing books to interest every reader

By Chris Jarosh
Book cover for Blackberry Blue by Jamila Gavin

Earlier this year we celebrated the release of the 25,000th AR quiz: Blackberry Blue by Jamila Gavin

There are over 26,000 Reading Practice quizzes available through Accelerated Reader, covering every kind of genre and complexity level. We aim to add approximately 200 new titles to the programme every month.

One of the guiding principles of Accelerated Reader is that every student should have access to appropriate books that interest them. So although we are always guided by the popularity of books and their authors, we strive to release quizzes that will appeal to students of all ages, abilities and interests.

Book Level

The Book Level is a measure of the complexity of the text of a book. This is calculated by the ATOS formula, which gives a reliable and consistent measure of how challenging a book is for students.

Students using Accelerated Reader are given a range of book levels, from within which they ought to select most of their books. This is known as the ZPD range – the Zone of Proximal Development – within which the books will be tough enough to stretch students but not so tough as to cause frustration. In order to ensure that students have access to appropriately complex books, we produce new quizzes across the range of Book Levels each month.

Interest Level

The Interest Level is an indication of the age range a particular book will appeal to. There are currently three categories: Lower Years (ages 5 – 8), Middle Years (ages 9 – 13) and Upper Years (age 14+). The Interest Level should be taken into consideration alongside the Book Level when selecting appropriate reading material.

Because we are always trying to find ways to better inform our customers, we are hoping to introduce a new Interest Level in 2015.  The Middle Years Interest Level is a very broad range straddling primary and secondary schools.  We recognise that material appropriate for 12 and 13 year olds can be very different to that for 9 year olds.  The Middle Years Plus category will apply to books that contain topics which might be geared more to secondary school students.

It is quite possible that students will enjoy books from a lower or higher Interest Level than the one most typically appropriate for them. Be aware, though, that Middle Years Plus and Upper Years books can contain stronger language and more adult themes than those at lower Interest Levels.


Screenshot of the Advanced Search on AR BookFinder

AR BookFinder has an Advanced Search function to help your students locate appropriate books

The best way for students to find books that will interest them is to use AR BookFinder, the public search engine for books quizzed with AR. Every book with an AR quiz is listed on AR BookFinder along with a summary of the plot and a list of topics related to the book.

You can use the Advanced Search tab on AR BookFinder to narrow down books by topic, Interest Level or Book Level. You can also search specifically for recently released quizzes, too, if you want to keep abreast of new publications.

Suggesting books to be quizzed

When we prioritise books for quizzing, one of the most important things we take into consideration is the number of requests. Teachers, librarians and parents can suggest quizzes using a simple online form – suggest a book to be quizzed. When you suggest a quiz, you will receive a notification if the book has been deemed non-quizzable. If it is quizzable, you will receive a notification when a quiz for the requested title becomes available.

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