Sunday, September 09, 2007

AR Tanka (not a love poem)


Accelerated Reader for Parents

AR is a tool
to make children want to read
not a measure of
a parent’s value or worth...
It is your child’s reading life

AR is a means
to help struggling readers
Points do not belong
in a parent’s bank account...
You cannot spend them yourself.

AR is a way
for some children to compete
in reading as sport
They may not understand math...
They remember Redwall books


tanita✿davis said...

Wish they'd had AR when I was in elementary school...

Camille said...

I've seen the good and the bad in the way AR is used. On Friday, I had occassion to counsel a sweet but worried parent who did not know what AR was and had heard so much about it from other parents that she was concerned her first grader was already behind. School has only been in session just two weeks here.

I always get a kick out of those kids who can take the Redwall and Harry Potter tests (the big point tests) and score a 100%. My daughter did is one year and then just asked to be left alone to read the next book and not bother with taking tests.

On the other hand I've seen parents push their children to take as many tests as possible. They discuss their kids AR points like they are talking about their own investment portfolio.

SilberBook-Blog said...

What a fantastic poem - and a sentiment that I am sure is real. Living in Canada for the years of my son's elementary schooling , I did not have any experience of the AR book system but have come to see it as an instrumental tool in the school systems in the US.

thanks for the insight!


CindyD said...

When my daughter was in elementary school, students were required to get a specified number of AR points each grading period. So she'd pick the books with the most points so she could get done and then read what she wanted. But that did mean she read some books she wouldn't have chosen otherwise.

Camille said...

Hey Alan,
Pond Scum has a
Ooohh... it is a 9 point-er! It would be interesting to see what questions they crafted to be answered.

The tests do have mistakes sometimes. If you find one (if a child is upset enough to bring it to your attention) RenLearning will replace the test but I always wondered about the other people who bought the test...did they send them a corrected version? Uh, no.

I am just cranky. I failed the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone test. OK, it had been a while since I read it. I thought I had loved the book but I failed the test. sigh.

Your daughter's experience is the way many schools use the program.
As I told the parent on Friday, the purpose of the program is to encourage kids to read because the more books that pass beneath their eyes the better reader they become. The program can introduce kids to new books and get them excited about reading but some readers get tired of taking tests when they could be reading more books.

I've seen the dark side of AR as it is employed at different schools. It all depends on how it is administered.

I will also say that it takes a great deal of time and effort to administer the program. Prizes have to ordered and organized and dreamed up, teachers have to "enroll" their kids' names in "their" class (and some are better at that than others so if they can't do it, someone has to do it for them,) reports have to be printed out...There were days I saw the whole thing as a black hole for time and energy.

I liked the way we used it at my campus. It was "enrichment" not the whole reading program.