My new school participate in Accelerated Reader (AR) to motivate students to read. If you are not familiar with AR it is a reading program designed to supplement a literacy program and motivate students to read using a point system. Students choose books to read and then take AR tests. Books have a point system varying on the grade levels and reading difficulty. The easier comprehension tests are 5 questions and the harder the book the more questions the test has. Here are some of my findings about AR:
It can be motivating to students.
Students independently choose their own books.
Teachers can monitor students' reading progress.
Reports provide information for students, teachers, and parents on reading progress.
A leveled system and point system is in place to match students to just right books.
All books are not AR books so students can not take a test on every book.
Test questions do not assess inferential or critical thinking skills.
Incentive based reading program
Does not promote long term reading
I know that access to books and time allotted for independent reading is supported by research. The other two aspects of AR: tests and rewards have not yet been proven to results in reading gains or promote long term read.
Here are some articles I have read to help me form a opinion about AR:
Does Accelerated Reader Work?
Independent Research Studies - Accelerated Reader
Does your school use AR? Do you like the program? Do you level all your AR books? How?
Now I'm off to try to level my books with the point system for AR. I hope that I can motivate my students without rewards to want to read and share my love of reading with my students this year. I want my students to become life long readers who devote time to reading.