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Beach Glass Beach Glass is offline
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,950
Senior Member

Beach Glass
Beach Glass's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,950
Senior Member
Old 02-19-2018, 07:23 PM
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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.
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