About a week ago I posed some questions to some of our staff regarding Accelerated Reader.
What is the purpose of AR?
- If one says it is to help improve reading assessment scores, then why do the questions follow a basic who did what where and when pattern?
- If one says it is to help improve reading assessment scores, then why aren’t the students reading persuasive pieces for AR points?
- If one says it is to encourage pleasure reading, then why aren’t many of the best sellers available on AR?
- If one says it is to encourage pleasure reading, then why can’t those students who enjoy reading magazines get AR points for that reading?
- If one says it is to encourage pleasure reading, then why do some high school students grow to hate reading?
What type of reader are you?
- Do you read for pleasure?
- Do you prefer to read books? … magazines? … news? … the Internet?
- What about your students?
- What do you see them reading for pleasure?
- What about the boys? Is there a difference between what the boys prefer to read and what the girls prefer to read?
- Would the AR requirements allow for your preferred reading style?
- Do the AR requirements allow for the preferred reading style of the vast majority of students or is there a fairly large population of students whom cannot utilize their preferred type of reading to meet the AR requirements?
Is it time to move away from and/or modify AR requirements?
Today, I was given a copy of the blog posting, “Why Reading Books Really Matters” (The Book Whisperer, by Donalyn Miller). One of the main points of her post is that by emphasizing standardized tests and the analysis of a book education is creating negative attitudes toward reading. In contrast, the author argues that reading (books) for pleasure exposes us to worlds and situations beyond our daily lives and allows us to laugh, cry or cringe in terror along as we read. Thru these experiences, “reading reveals a better us and challenges us to reach for it.”
Then I read, “The Niche of Books” (U Tech Tips by Jeff Utecht) questioning whether we are doing our students a disservice by emphasizing reading of books when the skills they will need as an adult is reading a web page, email, blog, chat, text messages or even twitter.
So what should we be doing? I know that I love to read but disliked high school English. I know that I love to read books but spend way more time reading blogs, web pages, emails, and news than I do books.
How can we instill a positive attitude toward reading?
How can we help students recognize that they are reading when they use the Internet or even their cell phones?
How can we help students be productive readers in a sound-byte society?