7/8 LA teachers - ? about AR

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by MrsCAD, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2006

    This is my first year teaching and I am trying to plan out how to use the AR tests in my classrooms. Personally, I hate AR, but I know it is one of the necessary evils of it all! I have seen it used 2 ways:

    1) Students have to earn so many points and there is a grade issued for the amount they receive. My problem with this is they can read simple books below their book and still earn the points needed.

    2) Students have to take so many AR tests w/i each grading period and the grades on the tests are what is posted in the grade book. The students must read books on their reading level or they are penalized. I like this one, but I don't like penalizing them, maybe I could give incentives for reading at least one book over the reading level(?).

    I'm not sure what I want to do, but I would really like some suggestions!
     
  2.  
  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,736
    Likes Received:
    1,222

    Jul 19, 2006

    The first thing you need to do is take the official training from Renaissance Learning, or at least have a meeting with a teacher who has been trained. There is NOTHING any worse than an AR program that's not been properly implemented. It can be very, very harmful and turn kids off from reading.

    Both methods you have listed above aren't recommended by Renaissance Learning. (I'm actually trainer, in case you were wondering.)

    I'll give you an example of how our program works in our middle school. Students are given an initial placement in a reading level based on a reading test scores. We used STAR for years, but we also use MAP or another standardized reading test when needed.

    Next, the teacher decides how much time IN CLASS will be devoted to AR. (AR is NOT an outside of class reading program.) The points they are to earn are based on their reading level AND the amount of in class reading time. The goal chart lists 60, 45, and 30 minutes per day, but it's easy to adjust for other times. Due to our scheduling, ours was 20 minute one year and 15 last year.

    Students must read WITHIN their reading level in most cases. I always tell them to start on the low end and work up. There are a few situations when students can read outside their reading level. When we read a book as a class that is an AR book, I don't worry about the level. It's impossible to pick one book to fit all when our classes are mixed ability . . . from second to college reading levels! They can also get approval for reading UNDER level if they're reading from a series. I often have students who want to read a whole book series, but some of the books fall outside their range. The ones who need the most adjustment are the high level readers, especially in middle school kids. Just because a 7th grader has a reading level in the college range, that doesn't mean that they're mature enough to understand the topics in those books. They often need to read UNDER their level. But if you think about it, the program is NOT designed for high level kids, but for improving lower levels.

    As far as kids reading short, low point books just to get their points, that's where the teacher/librarian steps in. I have lots of students, especially boys, who want to read 1/2 point non-fiction books all the time. We just don't let them. Unless they have permission from me, I don't allow them to read books less than 100 pages for the majority of their reading. Otherwise, they spend more time in the library than they do reading. (We call them "frequent flyers".)

    Our elementary schools use a rewards-based system, but it didn't work at all for the upper grades. They didn't care about any reward we threw at them. We use a graded system. Each student has TWO--and ONLY two--AR grades per grading period . . . quiz average and percent of point goal earned. These are the only two grades that are consistent for all students, regardless of reading level. When we were on blocked 100 minute classes, their AR grades counted 100 points EACH per grading period. When we went to 60 minute classes, we went to 50 points each grading period.

    Students are never to be required to read X number of books each, and teachers cannot set blanket point goals for everyone.

    If you've got any more questions, I'll be happy to help!
     
  4. E Bunni 99

    E Bunni 99 Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2006

    To try and help have students read books on level do some personalized book passes. I have my students sit in groups according to reading level based on the SRDT reading test at the beginning of the year. The students have no clue how the groups are made up- they just think they will be doing an activitiy later on in the day using the groups. I have them complete a book pass in groups of 4 using about 6 books. The books are picked by me and are great books. Normally the kids pick a good book at their level. It does take some work on your end- but once it is set-up you are in good shape. Hope this helps!
     
  5. zus_123

    zus_123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2006

    Please explain how you do a book pass.
    Thanks!
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,736
    Likes Received:
    1,222

    Jul 20, 2006

    That's a good way to form LITERACY CIRCLES, but it really doesn't have much to do with the AR program itself.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. CDOR79
Total: 435 (members: 1, guests: 412, robots: 22)
test