Tuesday, January 27, 2015

An A.R. Dilema

Any one else out there struggling with their schools Accelerated Reader program?  We were introduced to A.R. last year.  Our previous school didn't use it.  Basically, it tracks a child's reading progress by having them read a book and then test on it.  They are given a goal and rewarded for meeting that goal at the end of every nine weeks.  Explained that way it sounds simple and wonderful, but I keep running into issues.

For example, each child is assigned a level and each book is given a point value.  Maybe it's just my kids, but now, before looking at the title, or anything else, they go directly to "dot color" and "point value" to choose their reading material.

Also, a child is limited to testing in their level.  This also appears fine until you listen to Treasure Island, or Hatchet, or A Christmas Carol, or any number of "above grade level books" only to learn your child will not be allowed to test on them.

Alan almost didn't reach his A.R. goal last term.  I was a little desperate thinking he would miss out on a really fun field trip with his brother, so I tried to see if they would let him test outside his level on some of the books we'd been reading aloud.  It was suggested that I should focus more on Alan reading than on reading books "he didn't understand" aloud.  Hmm.  We solved the issue ourselves by literally forcing him to read and test on three books a day for the last few days of the term.  It was miserable.

Then, to top it off, there is ONE award given to the child that reads the most pages per class.  My little over achiever REALLY wants that award, so now, he asks me to limit our nightly reading time so he can "read on his own".  I'm so happy he loves reading, but shouldn't reading out loud count too?

So, while I'm up here on my soap box, let me just say that, "I WILL NOT STOP READING ABOVE GRADE LEVEL BOOKS ALOUD TO MY CHILDREN!!!"  They will meet Charlotte and Wilbur, and Sherlock Holmes, and Huckleberry Finn, and travel to Narnia and Neverland all with me as their guide for the first time.  So yes, Mrs. First Grade teacher, my child will tell you he's already read that book, and yes, Mrs. Reading coach, my son will tell you he based his Halloween costume off his hero, Sherlock Holmes, because we've read a few of his cases.  And you're right, they do deal with mature themes, and use language that is a bit old fashioned, which is why I'M READING IT TO HIM!!!

Ok, I'm done. I just needed to vent. Thank you for listening.  Happy reading!!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're not just giving in to those well intentioned, but misguided reading ideas. I'm sure it's easier for them to categorize everyone into levels but it certainly doesn't create incentive for growth and advancement. It sounds so frustrating. Keep doing what you're doing. I can't wait to see their Halloween costumes next year.