I love the passion of this article. I plan to share it with my teaching staff and ask their opinion as to whether or not we should keep it and eventually ask to have it removed. Kids need to read and not test. Our students are so tired of being tested. I would love to reward the time and effort put into reading. I hate telling students they cannot check out books that aren’t on their “level” but, for now, it is expected of me. I do not require students in PK-1 to take AR quizzes. I use it as a means for me to help students monitor their own reading but do not push 2nd grade. I use it to print awards for those who are intrinsically motivated to “get to the next level” and those who wish to challenge me, or any number of teachers involved in the library reading program. Frankly, I would rather have the money they spend on AR to buy more books and create better plans and events around reading. When I came to my current school, my students did. It read “chapter books” (aka novels). They were burnt out on AR.
Now, my kids read one book in each genre every nine weeks so they can explore what is in the library. I have number of students who have finished their 3rd nine weeks required genre reading and a couple who have finished their 4th nine weeks. They can read whatever they want when they are finished. What has this achieved? Students now tell me they like different kinds of books. They know where to find their own materials. They discover we have a lot of books on all kinds of things. They help each other find materials and have even started suggesting materials to their classmates.
Next year, I will add a couple of other genres not included this year. Next year, I will include 2nd grade. Next year, I will let students check out whatever they want and compare the growth in reading of those students. Maybe, for this last nine weeks, I will let them choose books based on genre alone and not levels … . My hypothesis? Students will experience greater growth when checking out materials based upon genre and personal desire than genre and level. Radical? I hope not!