As a teacher, I would like to address the issue of the Accelerated Reader program. In short, Accelerated Reader is a program that tests students over books that they have read and awards points for high scores. Many schools offer incentives or even grades for students that meet point goals. The idea behind the program seems great, but the problem is, students are not actually benefiting from the program. According to a report by the US Department of Education, the average rate of improvement in reading comprehension based on usage of the program is zero points. (What Works Clearninghouse, 2008) The program does not actually provide any instruction to the students, thus it does not actually help students to become better readers (Biggers, 2001). Additionally, in my own experience as a teacher, I have noticed that students tend to rush through books so that they can take a large number of tests, rather than reading carefully and thoughtfully as good readers should. Students are awarded a percentage of the possible points even when scoring poorly on the tests. This means that a student can achieve their points goal while still scoring poorly on their tests, meaning that they are being rewarded for mediocre to poor work. In addition, the program also turns students away from quality books that do not have quizzes; students do not want to "waste" their time reading a book if there is not something in it for them. In the end, it is an expensive program that data has not shown is not effective. As educators, we need to find better, research based approaches to instructing our students.
Biggers, D. (2001). The argument against accelerated reader. In Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy(Vol. 45, pp. 72-75). Retrieved from http://dianedalenberg.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/argument-against-ar.pdf.
What Works Clearinghouse. US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. (2008).Accelerated reader. what works clearinghouse intervention report(http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED502922.pdf). Retrieved from website: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED502922.pdf
I'm Edie - wife, mom, teacher, instructional designer, home renovator,
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