As I’ve mentioned before I have a love hate relationship with the Accelerated Reader program we use at our school. I love that it gives fairly easy to understand and fairly accurate reading levels on many books. I love that the kids like reading and taking tests on them. I love that there are tests to take for the books, and gives the kids more opportunities for reading. BUT I DON’T necessarily love the tests.
I hate that it seems to be the “be all end all” for reading in our school for many grades. I hate that the tests are supposed to be comprehensive but are many times completely in left field-or use vocabulary that was not in the book, so my kiddos are lost. But mostly I feel we’re missing out on a lot of great literature and reading skills (mostly in the upper grades) because so much emphasis is put on AR.
With that being said I have decided that it can be a very useful tool. We are starting the new evaluation process here in Oklahoma, and at our school. It of course is meant to coincide with the common core. Our school has chosen the Marzano evaluation method. I do not know a lot about this method of evaluation just yet. We are just getting started.
One of the aspects I have grasped is that myself and my kiddos are going to be required to record, keep, and explain A LOT of data. Hence the good part of AR.
I have always had my kids record their own scores, so we can go over it and discuss it. But I have now decided I need to carry it a few steps further. I have made up an AR packet for November and December so that I can start having my kiddos set goals, record scores, graph scores, and determine how they are doing and where they are going. I have added a few extra elements as well like a paper bag book report challenge and a critic’s page.
I don’t know how you all feel about AR or if any of you even use AR in your school, but if you do you can find the packet here, and the first person that tells me they’d like to have one I will email it to.
Today I am thankful for a school that uses AR but allows me the freedom to put my own spin on it to enrich my kiddos experiences.