This week’s posts question the efficacy of the Accelerated Reader program and, in some cases, offers some alternatives.

The Argument Against Accelerated Reader– Just what is sounds like from 2001- Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy

How to Accelerate a Reader– Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer shares her concerns with AR

Schoolwide Independent Reading Program– Read about how one school moved away from AR

Why Labeling Books Disempowers Young Readers– The author also shares how Fountas and Pinnell, remind us that A-Z Guided Reading labels are a tool and not how we should label (and limit) students.

Some Thoughts + Recent Articles about Life without Accelerated Reader (AR)– This blogger, and mom adds some stories about how AR has the potential for harming students by not encouraging reading for the sake of reading, growing or even rereading a favorite book.

Someone Get Me a Donut!– This is more than a delicious sounding title. Mr. G. deals with some myths and facts about AR and growth and love of reading.

With the research and article and blog reading I have done, I am certainly moving away from some of the bad practices I have done wrt AR. However, our school site pays for and uses, in some capacity, the STAR/AR testing. So, there is a balance, of sorts, that it seems one needs to have.

A goal for my students is that they become lifelong learners and readers. I would hope they leave my class with a love of reading that transcends my classroom walls. For some AR will help with this. However, I don’t think it always helps all my students. Therefore I use it sparingly.

The more I read, the less I want to use AR, but I also know that to hold my kids accountable for reading and ensure that they are all reading and growing…well, that takes time. AR can be a simple solution for some of the low level comprehension questions (DOK1). However, just because it is easy to use for me as a teacher, does not mean it is best for my students, especially my developing readers.

So, how do we combine the 2 (love of reading and AR) in a way that is beneficial for students and uses a resource our site is paying for? That is one side of a common question we often have in our profession. I have no easy answer.

But I do know I do not want anymore of my students leaving my class loving reading less, because of a program, or even worse…because of me. Let me know your thoughts on this.