Thursday, January 12, 2006

Accelerated Reader: Love it or Hate it?

Puyallup’s Director of Literacy Lori Hadley and Renaissance Learning’s Regional Implementation Specialist Jim Church presented our district’s first ever district-wide training for Accelerated Reader. This first training was designed for our 21 elementary principals, librarians, and learning specialists. The focus was on our philosophy of reading instruction and AR’s place outside of a 90 minute uninterrupted literacy block.

Accelerated Reader is a software program that helps motivate, monitor and manage student reading practice.

The students:
  1. Select a book
  2. Read it
  3. Take a quiz

If they complete their quiz with 85% accuracy they receive a certain amount of points based on the book’s length and level of difficulty.

Students are encouraged to read regularly within their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) although the entire library is fair game.

There’s no doubt that the idea of reading for points has caused much controversy among intelligent educators.

Kudo’s to Lori Hadley for finally providing a framework for the proper use of AR in our district.

What are your thoughts on this program?


  • Hate it. Absolutely Positively Hate It. It's a nice idea to create a program to encourage reading but that was NOT the way to do it.
    Yes, students who do not have access to libraries should have a way to obtain books in school for their own personal pleasure. One of the many problems with what A.R. has done is that they don't cover enough ground. There may seem to be a lot of books but they cover so very little in reality. When a student DOES have access to a public library, the possibility that they find an "A.R." book that they are interested in is pretty slim. Not that they would look at a "non-A.R." book anymore because they are too worried over achieving the "points" from the tests.
    Instead of encouraging reading, I have noticed in my school atleast, they are discouraging it by turning it into an assignment.
    Reading is not meant to be an assignment. It is meant to be entertainment or knowledge achieved out of one's own interest, not forced work. This is what a reading program should encourage.
    Reading in my school is becoming a stressor in many students lives due to A.R. so there is no possible way that I could ever like their system because I love reading.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:42 PM  

  • I wish it didn't exist and here's why: my child stresses over reading now when he used to enjoy it. There is no more reading for fun, only to achieve his "goal". I've read to my son every night since he was born, now my wife tells me, "Do you really think your helping him by reading to him? He needs to be reading to himself." Thanks for introducing more stress in my life. Now there is no point in him reading "Ranger Rick" or any other magazine, it won't help his goal. Why does reading have to be a competition? Don't we have enough of that already? Reading was a bond between me and my son, not it's a point of contention: "don't wait until the last few days to try and meet your goal." And when are AR teachers going to realize that not getting a reward equals punishment? I hate AR.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:27 AM  

  • 8th grade student, I hate it. I really like to read, but most of the books in our school library aren't even AR books, and the ones that are really boring. I like to buy books that interest me, and those books usually aren't very suitable for kids (dealing with sex, drugs, alcohol), but if they really want us to read, increase the library budget, you know? Don't make us sit there trying to scout out a book we have to read for days and hop we pass the test. I read an Agatha Christie book and it tested me on trivial things in the book, so I failed it and had to read another one. That's another thing. If you fail the test, you read a boring book for no purpose and wasted more of your life. I completely oppose this system. You can read if you want, and if you don't want to, then just DON'T!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 PM  

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