The efficacy of accelerated reader as a reading comprehension intervention: a meta-analytic review



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The utilization of effective interventions for reading comprehension is of great importance to educational professionals. Accelerated Reader (also known as AR 360) is advertised as one such intervention. Accelerated Reader boasts of a large research base supporting the efficacy of their intervention, though researchers from outside the company have raised doubts about the validity of these results and have cast doubt on the efficacy of AR as a reading comprehension intervention.
In order to fill a gap in the existing literature on this topic, a meta-analysis of studies examining the efficacy of Accelerated Reader as a reading comprehension intervention was conducted. For the current analysis, studies utilizing scores from state achievement tests in the area of reading comprehension were used to determine whether the intervention had the desired effect of improving students’ reading comprehension. Moderator analyses were also conducted to determine whether the results significantly varied when analyzed by grade level and study quality. Results of the analysis indicated a small overall mean effect size of (Hedges g=.145, 95% confidence interval). The results were heterogeneous (Q=165.658, p=.000) with an I2 value of 75.25%. Changes in effect size were insignificant when analyzed by grade level and study quality. Though a previous meta-analysis has not been conducted in this area and therefore the results cannot be compared to other similar analyses, the results are similar to other individual studies indicating a small effect of this intervention. To evaluate the probability of publication bias, funnel plots, classic fail-safe N, and a trim and fill analysis were conducted. The funnel plot was asymmetrical and indicated that smaller studies were missing from the analysis. Classic fail-safe N indicated that 421 studies would be needed in order to raise the p value to greater than alpha, and the trim and fill analysis indicated that the shift in effect size was small between the inputted and unbiased studies. These analyses indicated that the results of the present analysis were valid. Keywords: meta-analysis, Accelerated Reader, reading comprehension, state achievement tests



Meta-analysis, Accelerated Reader, Reading comprehension, State achievement tests