AR "Acclerated Reader" is a topic that I am asked about again and again. Therefore, I decided that it would be the topic of this blog. It is a hard topic as you find that few people "sit on the fence" when it comes to AR. The public seems to love it, the teachers love it or hate it and most librarians I have talked to dislike it (to put it mildly). Truth is that the first link below outlines what Best Practice suggests for independent reading programs. See below
Abundant reading research proves that the following components of an independent reading program increase students' reading achievement and motivation to read:
- Access to books: Students need access to a wide array of reading materials at their independent level.
- Time to read: Students need consistent, daily time to read at school.
- Reading engagement: Students need classroom conditions that engage them with reading and foster reading self-efficacy.
- School-wide support: Schools must create a culture of reading that values reading in all subject areas.
- Well-stocked libraries with qualified librarians: School library collections should contain current, well-maintained collections of interesting reading material manned by trained, licensed librarians.
- Student choice: Students need frequent opportunities to select their own reading materials for both personal and academic reasons.
If your school can boast that they have these components without AR, you aren't alone. Many schools have these built in each and everyday. They also don't "bribe" kids to want to read. See, if you read the research on AR their claims don't "compare apples to apples" most of the time. I would love schools that already employ these components to go against the schools that use AR. I think that we would be surprised. AR schools would probably come out on the short end of the stick for motivation and definitely have less money to put into the above! Here are some articiles, our best attempt to encourage children to read should be based on research of schools with best practice versus schools with AR. I think that we would find that our monies would be best spent elsewhere.