Guest Blog: AceReader Teaching Tips by Mike Downey – Part 2

[Editor’s note and disclaimer: Mr. Downey is a classroom teacher and ACT prep instructor with extensive experience using AceReader. After being a customer for several years and seeing first-hand how much AceReader was helping his students, he now works part-time in AceReader sales. His original version of the Teaching Tips was too long to fit in one blog entry; as a result, we have divided the material into two sections. Click here to read Part 1 of this blog.]

Standardized Test Improvement (ACT/(P)SAT, State Assessment Tests)

  • Students who complete 2 levels in AceReader improve speed a measurable average of 25% – often with better comprehension. This means if students took 1 hour to read a chapter, they could finish it in 45 minutes. If they could only read 3 ACT reading passages, they could finish all 4. This often raises Reading Section scores 2 points, and Science Section scores 1 point.
  • If students do only 1 thing to improve ACT/(P)SAT, LSAT, GRE, GED, HSPT scores, using AceReader is the most productive thing. If they read better and answer more questions, without rushing, they score higher.
  • Good readers score higher on ACT & SAT tests and receive thousands of dollars of financial aid.
  • I have used AceReader in a tutoring capacity for 8 years and with over 1,000 students. The students’ average ACT gain is 3 points. After each test, students message me what helped the most of hundreds of strategies. AceReader is always ranked #1 or 2. (See for more information)
  • AceReader drills force students to read faster. So during the ACT break before the Reading Section, students should speed-read an article or two for 3 minutes to “wake up eyeballs” and instantly read faster on actual ACT Reading Test. My students always rank this tip in the top 5. (See

Make AceReader Fun

Give awards/recognition: most time spent, most activities or levels done, most speed or comprehension improvement, highest speed…. Local businesses (McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc.) will give teachers coupons for free food/services to award students. I even awarded 2 Royals playoff tix to a student doing the most AceReader time at home (worth $500).

At least two times a semester, have students watch inspirational 2-minute video “Better Readers Make Better Learners.”

Have AceReader tournaments in each class. See how far & fast the students can go. My students compete in an Eye Span game tournament. They each start at the same time, and the first one who completes the level raises their hand. Great scores for the game are 125 milliseconds with no misses at Level 10.  The fastest time I’ve seen among my students is 14 milliseconds with only 2 misses.

In Menu Mode, do one of the following activities: 3-part Assessment Test, Self-Paced Comprehension Test (all starting at the same higher-than-regular level), Eye-Span Game, or Eye-Span Comprehension Game (for games, have students start at Level 8, 9, or 10). An easy method is to do rows against rows. Have everyone begin on same level & activity at the same time, and raise hands when finished with that activity. Teacher checks screens. Then have the best from each row compete against each other. The first one finished with games would be winner (unless you want to dramatically eliminate students to get the best 2 to compete for championship). Give prizes, recognition, and even grades.

Benefits to share with students & parents

(These should be regularly explained. Repetition is fine.)

  • The #1 predictor of college success is reading ability.
  • AceReader is about the only activity that is totally individualized for each student. A class will have students reading below, at, and above grade level. With 13 grade levels, AceReader is absorbing and challenging for all.
  • You would think a person reading only 1 word at a time would understand more than someone reading much faster, say 3 words at a time. But the faster reader understands more because of taking in larger units of meaning (also is less bored).
  • AceReader licenses last 12 months. Students may use the program during summer to greatly improve reading skills. Most students lose half a grade level of reading competency because for 90 vacation days, the only things they read are text msgs of 140 characters, lol.
  • Good reading skills will make success easier in grade school, high school, college, graduate school, and careers.
  • At work, most supervisors read, write, speak, and think better than regular workers. Good communicators get paid more.
  • Reading, more than any other activity, stimulates brain cells, building new connections between cells and actually stimulating growth of new cells.
  • Reading relaxes ADD & ADHD people more than walking, hot tea, or listening to music. [Editor’s note: See also blog on stress and reading:]
  • This is the Information Age. Good readers will research which cars/appliances/stocks to buy, which restaurants & hotels to use – often quickly on a phone while riding in a car. Important research evaluates which (un)traditional medical treatments, nutrition & exercises will help the readers, friends & family. People who don’t read are telling the world, “No information for me, thanks. I prefer ignorance.”
  • Reading is enjoyable. Being focused on words means no fears, no worries, no pain. We can give our children, our students, and ourselves no greater gift than to read well.

Teachers should frequently remind students (and ideally give examples from their own and their students’ lives):

People who don’t read

Only know what they know.

People who do read

Can know anything.

Author: AceReader Blogger

The AceReader blogging team is made up of specialists in a number of different areas: literacy, general education, content development, and educational software. For questions about posts, please submit them in the form below. For suggestions about blog topics, please email them to

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