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melonjar melonjar is offline
 
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melonjar
 
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Do you use AR?
Old 12-23-2013, 05:46 PM
 
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Our school has been using AR (Accelerated Reader) for many years. Students take the S.T.A.R. test to find their reading range. Then, they set a quarterly reading goal (a number of points), read books in their reading range and take AR quizzes. The intermediate (4-6) students get a grade based on their goal and the AR comprehension.

Although I think this pushes kids to read, I find, especially now that my own daughter is in 4th grade, that it tends to take the pleasure out of reading. It seems kids can't and don't just pick up books because they are interested, but rather only read because they have a goal to reach. I am considering an experiment next quarter. Possibly assigning a certain number of books to read rather than points, with extension activity choices for the students. They could still take AR quizzes, but not have a grade for it. The pressure is off this way, and they still have to read for the assigned activities that could be graded.

What do you think? Have you used AR or use AR now? Have you used AR in the past and then switch the way it is used or dropped it completely? Thanks!


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Book Whisperer
Old 12-23-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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I've never used AR, but do not like the idea of it at all. The author of The Book Whisperer speaks to the subject...you should definitely read that book. I think you are completely correct that it takes the pleasure out of reading, and if we want our students to become lifelong readers we have to carefully address that.
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Ar
Old 12-24-2013, 03:06 AM
 
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We use AR pretty similarly to how you are, except we don't give grades for it. It's a completely voluntary process I do like it because it's a good way for me to track those who are reading. When I conference with a parent I can pull up and show that little Johnny has a 2.3 reading comprehension because he is choosing not to read independently (outside of what I require them to do in class). Our media specialist does do a special activity doe those who meet their goal each 9 weeks though. I usually have about half my class who make it.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:22 PM
 
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We are required to use AR. Something I started doing this year has really helped. Those who were having a hard time picking books and reading at any time I spent a lot of time with. I asked them what types of books they enjoy reading. Then I had them go and get that basket from our class library. We then went through those and made a list of books for them to look for when they go to the library and check out. This helped push some students who weren't reading chapter books yet also. They found easy series and are now moving on to harder books. What I have found is that there are always going to be a few that won't read no matter what you do for them. I think of it as a challenge to find books they will like. Our librarians have been challenging them to try different genres. They keep track of books they have read. It is amazing what they will read. I have been checking books out and putting them on top of my class library. Those are always the first gone. I have been reading different genres this year during our read aloud time. I found that I was always reading the same sort of books. I told them I was moving out of my comfort level and trying different genres. We read a ghost story that was a little more than I normally read. They kids have told the librarian that they are looking for different books than they normally read because if the teacher is reading out of her comfort level they will too. Basically I don't think AR is an evil thing but is something they do. We let them look back in the nonfiction books for the answers. This is a test taking strategy. That is what they are able to do during their assessments so why should AR be different. Sorry, this kind of went in many directions.
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Incentive
Old 01-03-2014, 07:45 AM
 
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Teachers are pretty much left to use AR as much or as little as they like in my school. I do not require that students take a certain number of quizzes but rather use it as an incentive program. Students get a sticker for every AR quiz they pass with 80% or better score. When they have accumulated a certain number of stickers they get a homework pass (which they think is better than gold!) I like it because it gives me a way of monitoring their independent reading for appropriateness of level and comprehension. All students don't respond to the incentive but I have been able to hook a fair number of reluctant readers this way.


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