Does anyone use Accelerated Reader with 5th grade? Right now, I have all of my students working towards a 15 point goal with a minimum reading level of 3.5. The 2 problems I am having are 1) students either aren't taking tests, or 2) are only reading 1 point books at 3.5 level when they SHOULD and CAN read higher level and point books. I am using the system the previous teacher had in place, so I can certainly make changes if needed. I am thinking of setting book levels and/or individual point goals for the students for 2nd quarter. My big problem is that there isn't really anyway for the students to be accountable right now. They either get their goal or they don't. Should I set up a system where 15+ points= A, 12-15= B, etc? or should I take a percentage such as 13/15= 87%. Should I give them extra credit if they get x points if they read a higher level book? Any ideas you may have would be welcomed. Thanks

My students must read a new genre and take a test each month. (They also have to create a mini book.) I have blocked all books below level 4.o so they can't take tests on books that are too easy. I also offer an incentive to the kids with the most points at the end of the year. My partner teacher and I take the three top earners from each room out to lunch and present them with certificates and little gifts. It's a fun day out.

At my old school students recieved 2 AR grades, one for percent correct and one for percent of goal reached. I am not allowed to take a grade on it this year. I do use the reading logs and I have to sign off on a book before they test. For many, I refuse to sign one point books. After reading them a time or two for nothing (can't test) they have learned to go to a higher level. My goals aren't as high, though. They are based on Star score and 20 minutes SSR time a day.

I do not use AR for a grade, and I do not limit what they are allowed to read. I love picture books, and so do my students! I have a board in the front of my room with the #'s 10, 25, 50, 100, 150. Students are working this year to earn these levels. Each level they reach, their name goes on a star on the board. At the end of the quarter, they are recognized in an assembly. Students are reading books of all levels, and that is fine with me. They are reading! It takes more little books to get to the levels, so some are choosing really long chapter books because they are worth more points. I actually tell my students to choose a chapter book, and a few picture books each week in library.

I also allow my students to take tests over anything they read. I do keep track of the points earned and percentages. If I have a student who is taking advantage of just reading easy books, I have a conversation with them about trying books that are more on their level. My whole attitude is the more you read they more you achieve! I have students who are reading at a third grade level at instructional level so at an independent level they are even lower. I keep all of this in mind. I also read tests to students who are struggling readers. I think this keeps them focused on what they are doing (plus many of them get other tests read to them because of IEPs, 504s, or LEP levels, so why not AR?) My students make an individual goals (usually between 10-15 points) and classroom goals for points. We also have a policy in our school to reach 80% comprehension when taking quizzes as an individual and for classroom goals. This is where my class is struggling. I have a racetrack in my classroom with trophies numbered 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, & 60. Each time a student reaches one of these points they are allowed to move their race cars to that trophy. Each student also keeps a line graph in their data binder where they keep track of points earned at the end of each month. We also have a line graph in our classroom to plot classroom points for each month, and we have a bar graph in our classroom to show comprehension percentage. I post a leader board each week to showcase the top 5 point leaders and the top 5 percentage leaders along with classroom pts and percentage for the school year and for the month. Finally, we keep track of our 80% and higher quizzes. Each time a student reaches 80% or higher, they get to color in a chart on the wall. Everytime the students reach 50 quizzes of 80% or higher, they earn ice cream. My students have reached 102 (this was the total last Friday, so it is more now) quizzes that are 80% or higher since the middle of August. I hope some of this helps as you decide what direction you want to take with AR in your classroom.

My mentor teacher has a goal of 2 points per week per student for the first 9 weeks (after that it's 3 pts per week). She takes 2 AR grades: 1 for % correct and 1 for having the two (or 3) points. All the books in our library have colored dots - each colored dot is a different reading level. The students have their appropriate dot on their AR folders and they have to check out books according to those dots. Half of my class is on level and the other half is above level, so most of their books are over 1 point each. However, every Friday the students read to the K class. Since most of the picture books are .5 points, they are allowed to test on those. Other than that, they are only to test on books at their reading level.

I don't think it's fair to have every student have the same goal. Some students read higher level books, which are worth more, and some read lower level books which aren't worth as much. Also, in sixth grade, I don't do weekly goals. If I have a student reading Harry Potter, they aren't going to finish that in a week. So they might go from having 0 points to 35 points, but 3 weeks later. That's OK! Other students would have to work a long time to get up to that 35 points. To make sure they are reading, they have to do a reading log at night, and I have book conferences with them during our AR time. I note what page they are on, and how they are progressing.

We have a goal of 10 points a month as a class. There are students that have personal goals that were set at goal setting conferences. The AR is part of their grades, and I think that it is set up as part of their participation points. Our students reading levels are anywhere from 1st grade to high school level, so we start them at their level and move them up as they progress. This class is a challenge, and it is so hard to get some of them to read, and read at their level. We actually have the opposite problem, and have kids that want to read above their level and then get well below the 80% comprehension level. It is a great program if you can get the kids to buy into it.

I use it as a part of their grade. I am negotiating right now with my director about how many points are appropriate... Anyway, right now we have 20 points per quarter required. If my kids get 15, for example, I'd give them a 75% on AR because they earned 75% of the points.

I hardly ever respond to posts (though I read these boards all the time!), but as a librarian, this is a really touchy subject with me. My job is to promote reading and a love of books, and it is an uphill battle when teachers want to have so much control over what their students read. The majority of the reading teachers at my school don't want their kids to check out non-fiction books, even though the kids come to the library each week and the older grades check out three books each time they come. I have also seen teachers tell kids to put a book back because it is too "easy," (or for younger grades too hard), too distracting (drawing books, world record books, I Spy, etc.), they've already read it, etc. Exactly how does this attitude from teachers help kids enjoy reading and see that reading can be fun? I understand that teachers are under pressure to improve reading scores, but I really think taking away students' freedom over the books they choose and requiring them to take a test every time they read, is doing more harm than good. Don't we want students to see reading as something that is fun and enjoyable? Why does it matter what books they read as long as they like reading? Every time they open a book they are working on fluency, comprehension, developing vocabulary, engaging in critical thinking, etc. I think if teachers focused more on reading for fun and less on reading on a certain level or to pass a test, kids would find reading much more enjoyable, and we would see reading scores rise as well. For what it's worth, I taught two sections of 7th grade reading last year before becoming a librarian. My students were allowed to checkout whatever they wanted from the library and they were never tested on the books they were reading for pleasure. All but one of my students passed the reading TAKS, and the one that didn't pass was an ELL student, who still made serious gains that year.

I am in 2nd, but I give each child a book level that I want them to work on (we have a color system for each level). So I may have one student reading "purple", another reading "yellow", and another reading "green". I normally tell them that I will move them up to the next color level after they have taken ten tests on their level with an 80% or above. I also did a reading survey at the beginning of the year to better understand what kinds of books each of my students enjoy. So I try to conference with each of them every other week and help them find some books that they like on their level. This helps with their motivation because they suddenly have books they like, on their level!

You were posting at the same exact time as me... I totally understand how you feel, but I ran into an issue this year with allowing students to just pick any books. I have two students that did not speak ONE WORD of English when they walked in my door, yet every time I turned around, they had a chapter book in their hand. I could not even get them to pick up a picture book.... so yes, I limited their choice. I try to expose my kids to harder texts in other ways (read alouds, shared reading, listening centers, etc.). They are still exposed to it, and excited about reading. They decide whether they want to take an AR test or not... I don't require it. Most do, because they get to use the computer to take it!

I am not allowed to grade AR, so I give rewards for reaching goals each grading period and we have a big party at the end of the year. The 1st quarter all kids have a 10 point goal. The rest of the year is based on previous performance. The minimum goal increases throughout the year. I have one child with a goal of 120 for this quarter. Two of my students reached 100 points first quarter...and I teach 2nd grade. I give my kids a range to read in. The upper end of the range is slightly above independent reading level. They are welcome to read and test below level, but not above level. I move the level when they reach their AR goal with 85% accuracy and reach their book level goal. All of this is listed on the tops report.

Jellybeans--I agree completely with what you wrote. In my opinion, the fastest way to turn kids off of reading is to put restrictions on what they read and then test them on it. (I know that I wouldn't read all of the books that I do if there was a test at the end, or if I were told what I had to read). Of course there are times when we need to have our students reading something specific, I believe that there should also be time--in school--for them to have free choice.

My students have a free choice of any book they would like to read. Yes, I do encourage them to take AR tests over their books, but they are allowed to chose any book. I do not limit their choice. Now, our librarian does. She won't let the students check out books that are below or above their STAR level. It use to be that the students had to take an AR test over the books before getting a new book...thank goodness that is no longer an issue. I do assign books for guided reading, and I do require students to take AR tests over the book. I also take it as a grade on these tests, but that is only after we have read the book and discussed it in our groups.