Term of Award

Spring 2000

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Dan Rea

Committee Member 1

Edmund Short

Committee Member 2

William Reynolds

Committee Member 3

Jay Hughes


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the Accelerated Reader Program in a middle Georgia elementary school to determine its perceived impact on students' reading experiences, attitudes, and habits. This program is a system of computerized testing and record-keeping that, according to its producers, will increase student literature-based reading practice, which will in turn lead to improvement in their reading abilities and attitudes toward reading.

The subjects of the study were a selected group of fifth graders and their teachers, with both groups participating in structured oral individual interviews. In addition to these interviews, three student focus group discussions were held: one with gifted students, one with average students, and one with Title I remedial students. Student standardized test scores were also examined. The utilization of quantitative data (standardized test scores), interviews, and focus groups helped provide triangulation for the study.

The collected data indicated that the program, as implemented within this school setting, had a meaningful impact on students. Both teachers and students perceived the program as being successful in getting students of all abilities and interests to read with high frequency and on a wide variety of subjects. The AR Program impacted student's reading abilities as well. In addition to increasing students' vocabulary, the long periods of sustained silent reading promoted by this program appeared to contribute to reading automaticity, as measured by their high reading scores on a nationally norm-referenced standardized testing instrument and teacher opinion.

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