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Old 10-27-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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I didn't mean to say that kids that like to read don't care about the AR books, just that because they read so much, they find the time to read their own books for pleasure and the AR books as a matter of course. I have always been an avid reader and generally read every night. On a recent trip to Vermont (7 hours each way), I read a book and a half and even talked to my husband a little. In our schools, the kids are done with AR books after fourth grade.
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyolady View Post
Accelerated Reader is a program to motivate kids to read more. I have been both a teacher and media/reading specialist in schools with AR. I believe when used with other programs, it can be effective.

Cautions, however. Teachers often want to make AR part of student's grades....protest if this happens. Even the creators of the program warn AGAINST doing this. It places too much pressure on kids and in my experience, encourages them to cheat or skirt around the requirement. Make sure they keep AR a reward program only.

The tests just aren't good enough; they ask questions to see if a student has read a book, but don't delve into content to measure comprehension. For example, a test question might ask what the name of the character's dog is. Or might ask for the name of the school where a character attends. They just can't get into understanding and comprehension with M/C questions.

The other caution; teachers start requiring students to ONLY read books within their AR level. This can destroy reluctant readers in their ability to self-select books.

I understand challenging students to read more difficult books, but again this can be VERY discouraging. There often aren't enough AR books at a particular level that interests all kids. And please no arguments that there are plenty of AR books at each level....there are many. But as a media specialist, I have consoled many tearful students whose teacher has sent them back to return a book and select a different one after they have taken great care to choose their first book. But then, I am a firm believer in Right to Read and Intellectual Freedom laws.
THIS THIS THIS!!!!
I have been on all sides of this issue. My kids attended 2 different schools, one where it was voluntary and one where it was required as part of the grade. Also, had teachers that allowed to reading at their level or beyond, and in others that didn't allow anything beyond their level. And I worked in the school library where it was required. Part of my job was to work in the AR lab, helping the kids with book selection, helping them find tests, signing off on the kids reading slips, giving out prizes, etc.

When my kids were in the school where it was voluntary, they loved it. It made reading fun. It was just a competition between the other classes to see who got an ice cream party. No grade pressure. When we moved to another district it became required. At first it wasn't a problem because the teachers my kids had, allowed them to choose books above their level. My oldest was an avid reader and read well above grade level. There was one series of books (can't remember which one) which were well above his level, but he just loved the stories and his teacher allowed it. Always got all the questions right on the tests. The next year his teacher said no one was allowed to read above level at all. By this time he was half way through the series of books, but they were just barely above level. She would not allow him to read these books. Unfortunately, he was required to take several books and take tests on all of them each week, but much of what he was interested in, he'd already read in years past. So he started just reading anything he could find in his level that he'd not already read. It took all the pleasure out of reading and made what he had once loved nothing but a chore. By the time he was in 6th grade he was reading several grade levels above that, and the school just didn't have that many tests for kids on that level. They just couldn't afford them.

I also watched kids purposefully cheat when they took the test that gauged their level, to get a low reading level. Then they could read the easiest books and get lots of points. One case in particular I remember were some kids from our ESL program. These kids were in the 6th grade and had been in our school since kindergarten, yet they were reading books like The Cat in The Hat, and laughing hysterically while they did it. I am not condemning the kids in ESL classes. That is a different subject. It is just the case that I remember the most, but it was done by lots of kids, ESL and native speakers alike.
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
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Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
I work at a library so I see lots of young readers. In my experience AR books have little impact on kids that like to read because just about any book is included. Now when my kids were younger the AR list varied by school and there was a limited selection but that is no longer true, at least at our schools. Now it's whatever is on the AR site. Take a look at it, there are thousands of books there. Kids that like to read might get some skinny AR books to get that done but they will also check out books for pleasure. I see it everyday.
This would make it much better. If you could go online and take a test on virtually any book. When I was involved with it, the school had to purchase the tests and they were expensive.
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:16 PM
 
1,078 posts, read 2,214,697 times
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I don't have anything against AR Reading except.......kids are stuck reading books at or below their level for their grade. If my kids want to read a book that's above their level, by all means go for it. If they don't comprehend it, they will lose interest and go down a level. If they do read a higher level book they must read that book along with the AR book as the computer will not let them take a test above the reading level set by the school. I think AR inhibits students from wanting to attain higher goals.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:47 AM
 
12,457 posts, read 27,135,348 times
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Originally Posted by magoomafoo View Post
I don't have anything against AR Reading except.......kids are stuck reading books at or below their level for their grade. If my kids want to read a book that's above their level, by all means go for it. If they don't comprehend it, they will lose interest and go down a level. If they do read a higher level book they must read that book along with the AR book as the computer will not let them take a test above the reading level set by the school. I think AR inhibits students from wanting to attain higher goals.
As Debz pointed out in the post above, it's the teachers or the school that limits the AR list. I agree that it doesn't make sense for a child that is reading above grade level to not be able to read books the books that are academically on target for him or her. I also agree about making it a rewards program and not part of a grade.
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