How Much Does Accelerated Reader Cost?


Accelerated Reader, also called AR, is one of the most popular reading programs that is used by many schools around the world.  This program, created by Renaissance Learning, is designed for students to encourage them to read independently and assess their overall understanding about the book or books that they read.

This program is designed for students to encourage them to read independently and assess their overall understanding about the book or books that they read.  Each book that a student reads is worth a specific number of points based on the reading level and the length of reading.  The program tracks the progress of every student over the school year and rewards them in different ways.

Reading by eekim, on Flickr
Reading” (CC BY 2.0) by eekim

How much does the Accelerated Reader 360 program cost?

Schools will be asked to pay a one-time fee and subscription rate that depends on the number of students enrolling.  For example, a school district subscription for 250 students would cost about $2,600 with annual renewal rates that hover around $1,000.  If the subscription starts in the middle of the year, the rates will be prorated.

From what we researched, the school version will cost $4 a student per year, with a one-time $1,599 school fee.  The average annual costs, according to Education.com, can be close to $2,000 to $10,000 per year, depending on the cost of full implementation, school size and components implemented.

About.com states that, while Accelerated Reader does not publish the overall costs, each subscription that is sold will be a one-time fee plus an annual subscription cost per student.

On this ProTeacher.net forum thread, someone who worked at a school with 350 K-8th students were paying $4,000 per year for the program.

Accelerated Reader overview

The program is basically a three-step program.  During the first step, the student will read a book, magazine, or textbook.  When the student is done reading the book, the student will take a quiz that corresponds with the book they just read.  Once the student takes the quiz, AR will assign a point value that is based on the overall level of the book.  With these points, students will be able to buy prizes that the teacher offers.

As of today, there over 145,000 quizzes in the system that is available to the students.  In addition to the database, teachers and faculty are able to create their own quizzes and choose books that may be applicable to the subject matter of the classroom.

For the school version, there is Live Chat Support included, plus two getting-started web seminars and access to the renaissance training center.

There is customer service available for those schools that might need assistance in getting started with Accelerated Reader.

As for the quizzes that students have to take, the inclusions are Vocabulary Practice, Reading Practice, and Literacy Skills.

Access to Accelerated Reader at home for parents to also be able to keep track of the progress of their child.

Choice of many books to read according to the child’s level.  This program is specifically designed for students from K to 12 levels, so there are books made for each grade and reading level.

What are the extra costs?

In order to learn exactly how the software or the program works, teachers need to undergo training.  Most of the time, the training is part of the package price.  However, if you subscribe from another provider that does not offer training for free, you will need to pay extra for it.  This cost may be per seminar or per teacher.

If you want to upgrade your system in the future, you will likely have to shoulder extra costs for it.

If you are going to offer prizes and other incentives in the classroom, you will need to purchase these separately.  However, if you are a teacher, the cost of this should be covered by the school.

Tips to know

The Accelerated Reader program does not claim to be a substitute for balanced reading instruction, so you should not rely solely on it.  After all, it is still the responsibility of teachers to monitor the reading level of their students.  This program is meant for student’s to do independently,

If you are a teacher who is planning to use this program, make sure that you attend training so that you know exactly how this works.  Start slow and easy.

How can I save money?

If you are a parent who is looking for something like this for your child, there are many free tutorials online that could probably help you do it without having to purchase anything but books.  You can create your own program and offer incentives that you know your child will love.  Reading with a parent has a lot of benefits.


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