Monday, July 18, 2011

Accelerated Reader Rewards

Need help motivating your students to read and take Accelerated Reader tests?  These rewards and reward cards do that!  By using this reward system many students will have at least 100 points by the time the school year ends!  By using this reward system my first graders will read no less than 200 books during the school year!  And we all know that the more a child reads the better they get at it!
The Accelerated Reader Rewards include:

5 points = Bookmark
10 points = Candy
15 points = Pencil
1st Nine Weeks Goal & 85% Comprehension Score = Invitation to Coke and Extra Recess Party
20 points = Pick from the Treasure Chest
25 points = Free Computer Lab Pass
35 points = Bracelet
50 points = Free Homework Pass
2nd Nine Weeks Goal & 85% Comprehension Score = Invitation to Hot Chocolate and Extra Recess Party
65 points = Water Bottle
75 points = AR T-Shirt
3rd Nine Weeks Goal & 85% Comprehension Score = Invitation to Popsicle and Extra Recess Party
85 points = Eat with Teacher on Last Day of School!
100 points = Crown
4th Nine Weeks Goal & 85% Comprehension Score = Invitation to Pizza and Extra Recess Party
200 points = Super Reader Wal-Mart Gift Card

Here are some pictures of the reward cards:

Click Here to Download

Money, Money, Money!

I have had a lot of questions from teachers asking me if I have to spend my own money to furnish these AR prizes for my students.  Well the answer is I have actually done it both ways.   In the past I had to buy all the prizes I gave out 100% out of my pocket.  The last couple of years our school’s PTA is giving each teacher $100 dollars for their AR prizes. I will give you a breakdown on how I get away with spending the least amount of money on these prizes.  It’s just some frugal tips I have learned over the years.
First off there are prizes on the list that will cost you NOTHING out of your pocket such as the free computer lab pass, free homework pass, extra recess, and eat with teacher prizes.  Even though they cost nothing out of pocket these prizes are usually the ones the students get the most excited about!
Now for the bookmarks, pencils, bracelets, and crowns I purchase them from the Oriental Trading website.  I can usually find great deals in that catalog or online.  I always look for which items I get the most of for the least amount of money.  I purchase all these together because they usually offer a promotion where if you spend a certain amount of money you get free shipping.
The candy and treasure chest gift are really easy gifts to give out.  I always have candy in my candy jar and I have my treasure chest stocked and ready to go at all times.
I have different frugal tips on each of the goal parties.  For the coke party I just buy a couple different 2-liters and the students get one cup full of coke.  For the hot chocolate party I buy a can of hot chocolate mix and combine it with water in my crockpot.  Each student gets one cup full of hot chocolate.  The popsicles I buy for the popsicle party are the super cheap popsicles where you just cut the top off of them.  Finally, for the pizza party each student will get a slice of pizza.  The pizza treat is more like a snack instead of a meal.  I buy the 5 dollar pizza from Little Caesars and have them cut the pizza into 10 slices instead of 8.  Usually the students are so excited about the extra recess they get with each party, that they scarf their treat down and then go outside and play.  J
Finally, the most expensive items are the water bottles and gift cards.  I have found the water bottles for a dollar each the past couple years at Target in their dollar section.  I can usually only buy them at the beginning of a new school year. 
I usually don’t have many Wal-mart gift cards to give out – and those that I do give out only have 5 dollars on them.  
Our PTA has always given out AR t-shirts to students at our school – so this is something that they provide for me.  But if you don’t have a PTA that supports your classroom – you could always have each student bring an old white t-shirt to school and everyone could paint and decorate them together.  The students would totally love that!  
It does seem like a lot of prizes – and it’s totally supposed to for the kids - but it ends up not being too hard on the wallet and such a great motivator for the students to read!


  1. This looks like a great idea! How does the system work? Do kids pull cards from the envelope next to the card? It's hard to tell from the picture. I'm always looking for positive ways to get kids reading! Thanks for the post!

  2. When do you start doing AR wirh your first graders? Right at the beginning of the year or later on? Thanks, love your blog and ideas.

    Download as file


  3. I love this idea for AR! I plan on using it in the fall! Thank you for sharing! I am your newest follower. Check out my blog at:
    Third Grade Love

  4. I know this is a really old post but I just found it! Do your first graders really read 100 points each??? We'd never reach that! lol. Also when in the year do you start your kids on AR?
    Thanks so much


    1. Yes, most of my first graders have at least 100 points by the end of the school year. I start them on AR the second week of school. They can do it and love it!

  5. I am new to the AR program our Private school has not always used this. How do you determine what is 5 points, 10 points, 20 points, etc.... Is this the number of books they read?

    1. Each time a student reads and takes an AR test over a book, they earn points. In first grade they usually earn 1/2 point or 1 point per book (depending on the book). The AR program keeps track of how many points each student has. The students and teachers can see how many points each individual student has. Once a student has earned 5 points, 10 points, etc. I give them the AR prize they earned. The students not only earn the prize, but they also earn a little club card. Those are placed in the envelopes on my bulletin board. Hope that helps! Thanks!

  6. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing. But I couldn't get this part :( 1st Nine Weeks Goal & 85% Comprehension Score). What do you mean? When do students get this party? I will start this AR program soon and I've never used it before.
    I think your post will help me a lot.

    1. For the AR goal parties (Coke, Popsicle, etc.) the students have to reach their individual AR goal. Through the AR program the students take the STAR Reading Test. This test gives you a good idea on what grade level they are reading at. Based on how the students did on the STAR Reading Test the program sets each student an individualized AR reading goal for the nine weeks. For example, if a student scored a 1.2 reading Grade Equivalent score - then for the 9 weeks they would have to get 15 AR points, read books around the 1.2 level, and then have a comprehension score of 85% of better.

      For the incentives I give out - if a student reaches their individual AR goal for the 9 weeks they get to go to the party. The other prizes are just what they receive throughout the school year for their accumulated points. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions!