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kellicakepop's Message:

I am really struggling with AR. I feel that it hinders the love of reading.

I guess I am wondering if other middle schools dropped this stifled leveled reading approach?

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
EllyTeaches 07-20-2018 09:20 AM

We started it about 4 years ago. At first it was just to foster a love of reading, then it became a grade. Some kids loved it, but most grew tired of it. I think we are phasing it out this year.

One thing I cannot believe a colleague got away with was taking it as a grade and making it all or nothing. For example, if someone had a goal of 20 points and had 10 points, instead of getting 50%, he or she got 0. I didn't do it that way.

It became more of a drudgery, so I am not sorry it's going away. I did like the STAR reading tests, though, so I knew reading levels. Kids sometimes tried to game the system by rushing through the assessments.

pausebutton 03-13-2018 02:37 PM

Our district dropped AR at all school levels 3 or 4 years ago. I don't miss it at all.

BuddyDogKC 03-13-2018 07:49 AM

Our middle school had AR as an elective. Students who were still into it were able to participate, while students who didn't really care about it had other options during that time. It was also super easy on the teacher who "taught" the AR elective :-)

vett730 02-24-2018 07:00 AM

I used AR for many years in sixth grade. Our district dropped it because it "wasn't working." It was replaced with a product that has students reading and testing on short articles.

I completely agree with you, Ima Teacher. The main reason for the program not working is implementation. I really miss having this teaching tool! My students loved AR, and parents loved the clarity it provided them on progress, as well as clear ways that they can help their children.

IMO, what makes it work is empowering students with knowledge and book choice, and the conferencing aspect is crucial! When the program is used rigidly, it can stifle readers. The key is personalized interactions with students.

Ima Teacher 02-20-2018 06:29 PM

I was an AR trainer for many years. My specialty was adapting it for schools who used it as a graded program in upper grades.

Typically the reason it flops in a secondary environment is because it is implemented incorrectly. It has a lot of flexibility within certain parameters.

I was disappointed when our school had to drop the program due to funding issues.

Beach Glass 02-19-2018 07:23 PM

Our district adopted AR a long time ago. I used it when teaching both 4th and, later, 6th grade.

My fourth graders ate it up. It helped them choose books that they knew would be successfully read. That was a huge problem for me beforehand: I had 4th graders pick books off the shelves "willy-nilly" - they had no way of determining if a book was at their reading level. The leveling really helped. They liked seeing their progress in terms of points and test scores.

Fast forward to 6th grade. Those kids were TIRED of AR - and I couldn't blame them - they had been doing it since 2nd grade!! I changed it up A LOT!! I pretty much let them read what they wanted. If a book was above or below their reading range, I asked them to get the nod from me. Let's face it - there were lots of books and series (such as The Wimpy Kid) that added books once those kids were out of that range. I didn't want them to NOT read those favorite series because it wasn't in their reading range. As long as they balanced those books with ones that were IN their reading range, I was okay. (By the way, when students read a book below their level, we'd jokingly call them our "Beach Reads!" )

We did lots of various sharing strategies about books that were being read. I mean, don't we adults do the same? How many of us read a book because a friend recommended it?

It was pretty much a win-win situation. The kids knew they had the responsibility to read, but they had great latitude of choices.

I didn't consider AR "a stifled leveled reading approach" because of how we adapted it. I started every year out with dialogues among my students as to what they considered pros and cons of the program. After all, by 6th grade, they were experts! We then worked from there. Every year it was configured a little differently, but the foundation was consistent.

I realize that many are not fans of AR, but the way I tweaked it worked for me and my students.

There are other possibilities out there these days, but my district was not going to spend the money on them.

kellicakepop 02-19-2018 10:55 AM

I am really struggling with AR. I feel that it hinders the love of reading.

I guess I am wondering if other middle schools dropped this stifled leveled reading approach?

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