I need help from a librarian or teacher

Saturday, November 3, 2012
I get asked all the time if Witch Song or Witch Born has an AR test to go with it. The answer is always no. I don't have the time or desire to write an AR test for the books. But maybe one of do. 

So here's the deal: I'll send you a book and a bookmark in exchange for you creating an AR test for said book. Also, I'll love you forever. If you're interested, email me: amberargyle at yahoo dot com. 

Below is the info on creating an AR test. 

Writing and Adding an AR Teacher-Made Quiz
  1. How to Prepare a Quiz
  2. How to Format a Question
  3. How to Assess the Reading Level and Word Count
  4. How to Add Teacher-Made Quizzes to AR

“You can create and add your own Reading Practice Quizzes for use in Accelerated Reader; these are called Teacher-Made Quizzes. When you create the quiz, Accelerated Reader automatically calculates the point value based on the book level and the word count you enter. After you save the quiz, it will be available to your students. When your students take the quiz, the program will shuffle the answers for each question.” –Accelerated Reader Manual, p. 32
Things to know:
  • Anyone with access to the Accelerated Reader Management program can add teacher-made quizzes.
  • You can add up to 500 teacher-made quizzes. The Quiz ID numbers 900-1399 are reserved for teacher-made quizzes.
  • Book levels must be between 1 and 12.9 to be valid.
  • AR automatically shuffles your answers.
  • You must include the number of words in order for AR to calculate points.
  • AR automatically calculates point vales.

1. How to Prepare a Quiz
Your quiz should:
  • Accurately represent the content.
  • Encourage students to read actively and with interest.
  • Assess comprehension of the main events and characters.
  • Reflect what an excellent reader would know.
  • Represent events throughout the book(From: http://www.geocities.com/lisajunedenton/teachermade.html)

Based on the length of the book, level of interest and readability, decide on the number of questions the quiz should have. Typically, books with 32 - 74 pages could have 5 questions, those ranging from 75-200 pgs might have 10 questions and books with difficult vocabulary and more than 200 pages might have 20 questions.
1. Take the total number of pages and divide by the number of questions. 
2. Write a question for each section of the book. 
For example: 
Book=120 pages 
120/10=12 pages
For each 12 pages, write a question.(from: Sher Smith Ross, Librarian, www.mtbaker.wednet.edu/library/ar.htm)
Writing Questions
  • Use sticky notes to jot down questions and answers as you read, selecting the best ones after you finish.
  • Make all the answers plausible, with one outright winner.
  • Do not write negative or ludicrous answers.
  • Write thoughtful questions, do not try to "trick" the student.
  • Be sure each of your questions is a question and that it ends with a question mark.
  • Answers and distracters should begin with a capital letter and be a phrase or complete sentence, no one-word answers.
  • Please edit your questions, answers, and distracters for spelling, punctuation, and syntax.
  • Do not write “fill in the blank” questions.
  • Do not write all “of the above” questions.
  • Choose your vocabulary based on the grade level of the book and be sure it is related to the book.
  • Do not ask them to identify pictures, or illustrations.
  • Do not ask them to identify the author or the title of the book.

(From: Book Adventure, www.bookadventure.com)

If there is a movie, make sure your test will not allow 
a "movie-only" student pass the test.
  • Write questions that are grammatically correct.
  • Add questions in the order they occur in the plot.
  • Do not be too picky, a student may have to wait a day to test.
  • Do not be too general, a student who has not read the book well should not pass.

Questions should be written for basic reading comprehension. Five elements should be included in each quiz:
1. Main Idea and Detail - Who, What, Where, When, or How questions. This includes choosing the main idea or topic of the book. Some open-ended sample questions are: What is __? How did___ happen? When did __ happen?
(Student Competence = Knowledge)
Example 1: What is this book about?
  • What people do when they first come to America
  • How the West was won
  • Learning how to deal with new cultures
  • A journey to a new land

(These are not complete sentences so a period is not necessary.)

2. Constructing Meaning/Comprehension - This is an opportunity to demonstrate understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating or giving a description. Some ideas are related by sequence or time order. Questions could ask, "which event happened first" or "what happened next". Cause and effect are meaning questions - "why did someone do something". Sequence questions would have the words "first", "next", "later". Cause and effect questions could use words in the answers such as "because", "as a result", "since". We want children to explain what was meant or select the best definition or description.
(Student Competence = Comprehension)
Example 1: Which event happened first?
  • Jim went to the doctor.
  • Jim went to bed.
  • Jim began to sneeze.
  • Jim ate some dinner.
Example 2: Why did Jim name his kitten Eve?
  • Because she made him sneeze.
  • Because she was dark as the evening sky.
  • Because she like to sneeze.
  • Because she stayed up all night.
3. Evaluating Information - An example of evaluating information might be choosing something that is fact versus opinion or comparing and contrasting situations or ideas. Another example is to ask the child to decide why an author might have written a story or identifying motives or causes in the story. Key words are: analyze, compare, contrast, simplify, list, theme, relationships, judge, explain, or select.
(Student Competence = Analysis)
Example 1: Why do you think the author wrote Harry Potter?
  • To teach about pilots
  • To teach about a wizard boy
  • To teach about going to school
  • To teach about history
Example 2: Which sentence is true?
  • Harry Potter was an orphan.
  • Harry Potter was raised by his mother and father.
  • Harry Potter was born with no parents.
  • Harry Potter was a cat.
4. Characters & Plot - This might be a question about who the main characters were. Questions should be about how the characters felt about something that happened or what kind of person the character was, etc. (I.e.: Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web was a generous & kind animal, a shy and reserved animal, a lazy and boring animal, etc). Some words to think about with Characters and Plot questions are: Define and Describe, Which One or What is Best, etc. (Competence = Knowledge)
Example 1: How did Wilbur feel when he first met Charlotte?
  • He felt scared.
  • He felt angry.
  • He felt confused.
  • He felt excited.
Example 2: What causes Epimetheus to leave?
  • Zeus signals to him.
  • Epitmetheus is afraid of the box.
  • Pandora is too curious.
  • Hermes plays a joke on him.
5. Vocabulary Usage - Use a potentially new or challenging word from the book in your questions. We want children to be reading for vocabulary and word recognition improvement as well as for enjoyment.
Example 1: What did Harry Potter mean when he said it was "serendipitous" that he ran into Hagar?
  • It was a pleasant surprise.
  • It was unfortunate.
  • It was totally planned.
  • It was funny.
If you need assistance when considering higher level questions, visit Bloom’s Taxonomy at

(From: Book Adventure, www.bookadventure.com)

3. How to Assess the Reading Level and Word Count
It is vital that you accurately assess the reading level and word count.
Here are some suggestions:
Do a Fry readability study. You can find the graph in the Accelerated Reader User's Manual, online athttp://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/fry/fry2.html
and the directions for its use at 
Accurately count the words so students get the benefit of full points for passing the test. The formula for word counts are in the User's guide as well or can be accessed at:

Or, using Microsoft Word, do a readability test for the book:
“You can check the readability level of a passage using the Klesch-Kincaid Reading Level built into the newer versions of Microsoft® Word. In Word XP, to display readability statistics...
  • On the Tools menu, click Options, and click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  • Select the Show readability statistics check box, and then click OK.
  • On the Tools menu, click Spelling and Grammar .
When Microsoft® Word finishes checking spelling and grammar, it displays information about the reading level of the document.”

Alternatively, if you are pressed for time, use a search engine like Google to scan another library's tests for the proprietary AR Reading level and points. Use author (LN, FN) or title and the words "ar test." 
Ex: for Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson your phrase would be "speak ar test" or "anderson, laurie halse ar test."
You may also go to

www.renlearn.com. to identify the reading level and point values

Using the point value of a book means you can experiment with the number of words until you get the points correct.
Place a sticker on the book to identify that there is a test available for that title.

1. To go to the Quizzes screen, click the Go menu and select Quizzes.
2. Click the Reading Practice tab toward the top of the screen.
3. Click the [Add] button.
4. In the Select Quiz Number dialog box, click the Quiz number that you would like to use for your new quiz; then, click the [OK] button. (You will need to scroll down to see some Quiz numbers.) Quiz numbers 900-1399 are reserved for Teacher-Made Quizzes, so you can add up to 500 quizzes. Only Quiz numbers that have not been used will be shown in the dialog box.
Note: If more than one teacher is creating quizzes, you may want to assign different Quiz numbers to each teacher, especially if the teachers are using different Accelerated Reader databases. Since two quizzes can’t use the same Quiz number, you will not be able to import a Teacher-Made Quiz from another teacher if your database already has a quiz that is using that Quiz number. You can only import quizzes from other teachers if you are using the same Accelerated Reader serial number as those teachers.
5. The Add Teacher-Made Quiz dialog box will open with the General tab selected. In this tab, click in the fields (blanks) and type the title, author, a book level between 0.2 and 12.9, and a word count. (The word count is necessary if you want Accelerated Reader to calculate point values.) Then, click the drop-down lists to select the book’s language, interest level, fiction or nonfiction, and the number of questions you want in the quiz.

The number of questions determines the passing percentage for the quiz; the passing percentage is 60% for 5-question and 10-question quizzes, and 70% for 20-question quizzes.
Interest levels show the grade range for which the book’s content is appropriate. You can select from:
“Unknown,” “LG” (lower grades, K-3), “MG” (middle grades, 4-8), or “UG” (upper grades, 9-12).
Note: To obtain an ATOS book readability level, go to

6. Next, click the Questions tab. You will see a list of questions, each labeled “New Question.” 
The number of questions has been determined by the number you chose on the General tab.
7. Click the first question; then, click the [Edit Question] button.
8. The Edit Question dialog box will open. Click in each field (blank) and enter the question, the correct answer, and the alternate answers. Accelerated Reader will shuffle the answers each time it presents the quiz to your students. When you finish entering the answers, click the [OK] button to close the Edit Question dialog box and return to the Add Teacher-Made Quiz dialog box.
9. Notice that the first question in the list now shows the text you entered for the question. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for each additional question in the quiz.
10. When you have finished entering the questions for the quiz, click the [OK] button in the Add Teacher-Made Quiz dialog box. The quiz you added will appear in the list at the Quizzes screen. --AR Manual, p. 32


  1. There's ALL THAT info just for a freakin' AR quiz?!!!! Holy crap! Reading all that takes longer than writing the test.
    It took me approximately 15 minutes to write each of the AR quizzes for my books. Of course, since I'm self-published, I just sent the quizzes off to librarians who want them and let them do the formatting.
    AR quizzes are THE MOST BASIC of quizzes ever. They are totally knowledge-recall and ALWAYS multiple choice. My students say they are brain-numbingly easy (which is why they only count for extra credit in my classes).
    Really, all you have to do is ask yourself, "What do I want a kid to remember most about this chapter?" That's about it.
    Since it's the formatting that's really an issue here, any school librarian should be able to do that in about 5 minutes. Seriously, I watched our assistant librarian copy and paste my questions and answers into the form (for Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire) in about 3 minutes.

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