Dear Accelerated Reader,
Can I call you AR?
I have a bone to pick with you!
I don't know about other schools, or classrooms, but you are sucking the joy out of reading in my classroom.
Ok, well, it's not really you, but it's what you stand for. It's also what others have made of you. So, I guess it's not all your fault.
I get it. You want our students to read, and you want them to read on their level. You want them to read so much that they become better readers. You do this by making them take a test, which then decides what books they are able to read. And once they read the book, they take a quiz.
In our school, they read to get points. They get points to get in a Club. When they get in the Club, they get recognized, and they get the chance to attend ice cream socials, parties, etc.... The class with the most points or the highest average wins a pizza party. Hey if it gets them to read, right?
Not really. You know what I have noticed year after year? The same kids attend ice cream socials, parties, etc... The same kids end up in the Platinum Club, or they get to be the ones to smash the pie in a teachers' face. Last year, my students said, "What's the use Mrs.M? We know K is going to win." Of course, I tried to change their minds, but you know who won last year.
And the worst part?
Student: Mrs. M, I need you to have a lady to lady talk with Ms.L.
Student: She is not letting me go out to Recess until I am in an AR Club.
Come on! I know we all like to win, but making kids miss Recess so they can get in the club, and your class can win the pizza party? See what you've driven our teachers to?
Trust me, AR, my goal and yours are the same. We both want our children to read. We want our children to enjoy reading, we just have different methods. I prefer events like The Global Read Aloud, which embraces the joy of reading, but also connects students all over the world, who share that joy.
I also send home a notebook and ask my students to read at least 15 minutes a day, and respond in writing 3 days out of the week. Listening to some of them share their responses, I have seen how much they have grown, how they are relating to the books they are reading. How much they enjoy reading them.
Of course, if there is an AR quiz, they are allowed to take it. Win-win, right? :)
I'm sorry AR, I am not a big fan. One of my students has read three chapter books and somehow feels it was a waste of time. You know why? There wasn't a matching AR quiz for any of them. So, I ask you, is this any way to get kids to love reading?