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Does your school use AR points?


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#1 Mom2Two

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 03:34 PM

:mad: This face is how I'm feeling about AR points right now. My dd's teacher is requiring they get 40 A.R. points this quarter. I'm all for challenging the kids, but this has turned dd from someone who used to enjoy reading into someone who despises it. She has already read all of the Harry Potter books, Narnia and many of the classics and received points on these in the past and can't use them again.

Next quarter they have to get 50!:eek:

Many of her classmates are reading several 5 point books that are just crap in my opinion, so they can get their points. DD is still required to read quality literature to get her points.

Just venting! I teach kindergarten and don't use AR. Dd is in 5th grade.

#2 Caroline

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 03:54 PM

Yes, our schools use AR points. I can see both good and bad sides to it. I like that it allows children to read all sorts of different books. I don't like the pressure of the points. I, too, like my kids to read quality books. My oldest son likes to read non-fiction. The NF books tend to be lower in points and have harder tests. Oh, and the schools tend to own fewer NF tests, too.

All that said, his teachers always worked with him on setting a reasonable goal. The goals were different for each student. Since my oldest liked to read NF, his teachers would set his point goal a little lower, but his level goal a little higher. Does that make sense? Now that he is in middle school, they are just required to read a certain number of books from certain genres, based on the state standards for their language arts class. I think last quarter he had to read a science fiction book, a biography, and another book of his choice.

My first grader has just started AR. He flunked his first test. While he can read and comprehend, he just didn't like the test. His teacher understood, and has now backed off the AR thing with him.

Now that I have given you much more information than you cared to have...

By the way, I am a public school teacher, too. I teach high school math.

Caroline

#3 Mom2Two

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 04:04 PM

It is nice to meet you Caroline! My youngest has just started AR too, he is in 2nd grade. He doesn't do too well on the tests, even though he is a bright little guy. They don't require a certain amount of points, just that they get so many 100's on the tests. I think that is crazy too. His teacher doesn't put too much pressure on them though. Not like dd's 5th grade teacher.

It can be good, but like your child, dd only cares for a certain type of genre-fantasy books. She is reading Black Beauty and the Little House set (finally-after trying to get her to read it for years) for this quarter. I can tell she is miserable and would rather be reading something else, but these will get her the high points.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you on these boards!


#4 LibrarianMom

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 04:31 PM

AR is definitely one of those things you love or hate. My dd doesn't do AR yet as she's only in K. But in a previous job I was the administrator for our school's AR program so I heard a lot of the hate. :)

40 points is a lot for 5th grade and would definitely encourage kids to read down a level instead of challenging themselves. Does your teacher require students to read on grade level (i.e. only level 5 and up)? I have heard where some schools do that which bothers me because kids should be able to read for fun, and I know that not all of my reading is at a post-college level. Also as the tests are all multiple choice they are based completely on what happened rather than higher-level analysis.

A couple of suggestions. 1. Ask your teacher or library media specialist for a list of books they have tests for that are at a certain grade level on up. That way you can look for those books at the bookstore or public library because there are always books they have tests for but not the book. You may also decide that you want to read a book with your child and talk about what happens to cement the comprehension. Or have your child take notes about what happens in each chapter particularly if the book took a while to read. 2. If there is a book your child wants to read and there isn't a test available, as you teacher/librarian to make up a test. AR allows the option to enter tests for any book you want if there isn't a test available. They might balk at this suggestion but it is possible.

Let me know if you have other AR questions.

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#5 Caroline

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 05:45 PM

Several teachers did that for my son. We would start reading a series and suddenly hit one for which the school didn't own the test. I would make up the test and the teacher would put it in the computer for us.

Another thing we did was allow parents to donate the money to buy the AR tests. If the school did not own the test, then the parent could donate the $5 to buy that test. When we had the minimum order number, we would order. (I was the PTA treasurer for a number of years and started this fund.)

I do like the idea of taking notes. My oldest is doing that with Fellowship of the Ring. I am, too.

#6 Anne in Hawaii

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 09:30 PM

My children used to attend a private school that used AR, and I was the librarian. I had to get very familiar with AR, but the big problem was that the teacher's weren't. They weren't trained about it and didn't understand how it worked. They assigned everyone the same number of points, and it became drudgery to the children. They read the easy, low-points books just to meet their requirements, and their reading wasn't driven by what was good quality literature. And if we didn't have the test for a book, no child wanted to read it just for the sake of reading.

I understand why AR can be attractive to schools, but without training and evaluation and re-evaluation, it can cause teachers and students to lose sight of the actual goal --- to get children reading good books.

#7 skimerinkydo

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:31 PM

My dd excelled with AR points in 2-3 grades. Now, in 5th grade, her teacher requires x ammount of points and she hates it. She thinks all the books are boring. She is reading Eldest and the Lord of the Rings at home and the school does not offer AR points for those. I can see how this program might be helpful for some students at some times but it definately has not fit my daughter every year.

#8 Kris

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 12:41 AM

It was a horrible experience and it's taken me over two years to get my son interested in reading after the AR program. He never was the book worm that I was, but after the AR experience, I couldn't even get him to read a comic book.

He read books very much below his grade level to get the quick points -- despite the fact that his reading was scoring at college level. All efforts to get his teachers to insist on above-grade level books were futile -- they couldn't be bothered. The fact that I told *him* to read above-level books as a waste of time, too, since he didn't have access to the library that contained them.

I have nothing good to say about AR.

This year, he's read The Iliad, The Odyssey, and he's just starting on Greek drama. He's also reading four or five news magazines per month and he actually will go to the bookcase and pull something out for pleasure reading. This is after over two years of homeschooling where he's been exposed to more than first, second or third grade books.

I don't place *all* the blame on the school. He didn't do what he was told, either, and it became a mess. But AR reading was the catalyst.

And by the way -- I think 40 or 50 points per quarter is *way* too much.

#9 Mom2Two

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:55 PM

Well, today I talked to some of the other 5th grade parents. They are upset as well and a couple even asked her to change it, but she says it is already in the system and it can't be changed for this quarter. Maybe she will reconsider the 50 for next quarter!

It is so good to hear other opinions on AR!

#10 [email protected]

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 06:14 PM

quarter. It is individualized. I worked the AR system at our school and I don't understand what the teacher is saying that she can't change it. I changed it all the time. I wish you luck. I know how frustrating it is when the motivations to read are all wrong.

#11 Mom2Two

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 07:16 PM

20 is reasonable, this 40 and 50 is ridiculous. She is even saying that some kids in her class are reading Junie B. Jones and easy books like that just to get the points. This is the higher reading group and a lot of the kids doing this are gifted. I'd love to complain, but we are just going to do our best to get them.

#12 ArwenA

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 07:37 PM

If you don't mind me asking, what is AR?
My kids aren't in school and I'm a bit ignorant about all the different things that go on there.

Thanks!

#13 Anne in Hawaii

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:56 AM

AR stands for Accelerated Reader. It's a software program many schools use to track student reading and test for comprehension. Their website is here.

#14 ArwenA

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 12:45 PM

AR stands for Accelerated Reader. It's a software program many schools use to track student reading and test for comprehension. Their website is here.


Thank you Anne!

#15 Tracey in TX

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 07:11 PM

Our former school uses AR points. I must've been the only parent who disliked the program. DD always won her class' quarterly award, but the others barely acquired points. They opted to read what they found interesting instead of what had the most AR points. Why encourage kids to read crap just to get arbitrary points to "buy" more useless knicknacks.

#16 Lady Katherine

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 07:11 AM

My 2nd grader is very math-oriented, and he just loves to see those points add up. He is asthmatic, too, and very often has to stay inside during recess, so he uses that time to read. Since he has always been a reluctant reader, I am thrilled! He's even started on his first chapter books, and is FINALLY discovering the joy of reading.

That being said, I fully understand others' frustration. Offering fun incentives is one thing. Locking an advanced reader into a system that doesn't work for them -- especially if they clearly don't need the motivation -- is just ridiculous.

"No child left behind" is not enough. There should also be "No child's potential squashed by the system."

#17 Shay

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 12:13 AM

Hi there! My kiddos have been doing AR for years and I have had frustrations as well (mostly how some teachers have handled weekly points), but I can also appreciate some aspects too.

What I really wanted to point out in this post is the fact that, new for us this year, my kids can take AR tests on books I read aloud to them :). I love, love, love this! I've always read aloud to them and to have them getting "credit" for it is icing on the cake. So, if you don't already know if it's allowed in your school, I'd advise you to check and see if your dc can do this as well.