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#31 of 41 Old 03-23-2014, 09:45 PM
 
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My kids would not have been happy with AR at all, though. I can tell you that. They _really_ don't like to be told what books to read and hate competing that way. Dd2 almost quit BOB because of having to choose from a list, but persevered and ended up enjoying it somewhat (although after her team lost she did say emphatically that she was NOT doing that next year). I'm glad her school doesn't do AR. Seems counterproductive and unnecessary. My kids also never want to do the summer reading program at the town library to get points for prizes. They've started it a time or two, but quit midway through. It just sucks all the joy out of reading for them. 

 

ETA: I'm sorry, I just think AR sounds HORRIBLE!! I have a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about it. Blech! They have to take tests on the books? Ugh, ugh, ugh. NiteNicole, my dds would be right there with yours on hating it. I'm sure they would do fine, but, geez, it sounds all backwards as far as getting kids to love reading. It becomes a chore, just like those darn reading logs. We had to do a few of those early on, but again, dropped them by the first couple of months of 2nd grade. To be clear, dd2 adores reading. She's got her nose in a book almost all the time and she writes all the time that she doesn't have her nose in a book. But that AR thing would so not be her thing at all.


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#32 of 41 Old 03-24-2014, 09:56 AM
 
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Yeah, AR isn't my favorite thing either. I was just pointing out that it's not some restrictive, limited book list the kids have to choose from. They read what they want, and, over the course of the trimester, choose a handful of books on which to take a short comprehension quiz. For a kid who reads a lot, it really doesn't cramp their reading style, IMO.

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#33 of 41 Old 03-24-2014, 10:42 AM
 
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I think that AR and similar programs likely don't unduly limit kids' reading choices. I'm more concerned, though, about the effects on the intrinsic motivation to read, and on the attitude to the content of the books. Alfie Kohn has a lot to say about this in "Punished by Rewards" but suffice it to say that studies consistently show that engagement in the material, the tendency to self-challenge and long term motivation to read are reduced when rewards like points and other forms of extrinsic recognition are used as tools. I'm very thankful that my kids have never been subjected to practices like AR.

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#34 of 41 Old 03-24-2014, 09:05 PM
 
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I'm with you, moominmamma. The idea of AR just doesn't sit well with me and knowing my kids it wouldn't sit well with them, either. Thankful we haven't had to deal with it.

 

Hope some of the book suggestions I made will work for folks. 


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#35 of 41 Old 03-25-2014, 06:42 AM
 
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I think a lot depends on how your school and your kid's teacher handles AR.    My daughter has had point and specific grade level goals (it was really hard finding mid 4th grade books interesting to a six/seven year old).  She might want to read Clementine and the Mouse and the Motorcycle like other kids in her class, but she has to read on a higher level or it brings her average down and as it's part of her reading grade, she can't drag her average down.  I've spoken to other parents whose kids never do AR out of class.  Their classroom has plenty of books on their level and their teachers don't set goals so aggressively high that they have to read as part of homework in addition to their reading time at school. 

 

Now when I was her age, I would've been tearing up the AR.  I loved to read and read EVERYTHING all the time and was proud of reading harder books  I would've been getting points for something I was already doing.

 

Quote:
I'm more concerned, though, about the effects on the intrinsic motivation to read, and on the attitude to the content of the books.

 

This is the issue.  My kid already has homework and she stresses over the homework.  It's not hard for her, but she wants everything to be perfect.  Making reading (which should be for pleasure at least SOME of the time) essentially under the heading of "homework" means she stresses about it.  It also limits what she is reading.  She'd rather be reading about snakes and history and weird facts and planets and there are far fewer of those types of books with AR scores, and very few at all easily available (small town, small library, school only goes through 3rd grade so not tons of 4th and 5th grade books on hand).  Also, she's currently reading the very first book in the Warriors series (something about cats, a friend recommended it).  It's somewhere in the mid 5th grade.  It's actually HIGHER than some of the Game of Thrones books (although those are worth many, many more points than the Warriors books). I'd like to know a bit more about how these grade levels are calculated. 

 

I have about two pages of book titles to take to the library, so thanks, OP, for starting this thread and thanks to everyone who took the time to list books! 

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#36 of 41 Old 03-25-2014, 07:26 AM
 
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It's actually HIGHER than some of the Game of Thrones books (although those are worth many, many more points than the Warriors books). I'd like to know a bit more about how these grade levels are calculated.

I wonder that too. The first Harry Potter book, for example, is worth 12 AR points, but the first book in the Narnia series, which was far more difficult for my DS, is only worth 6. Some of the scoring seems wonky.

And I can totally see how these programs could put some kids off of reading. That is a shame.

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#37 of 41 Old 03-25-2014, 10:55 AM
 
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We had the same experience. After watching the movies, she wanted to read the books. HP was a pretty easy read and is very accessible to second graders. The first Narnia book was such a challenge she gave up.
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#38 of 41 Old 03-25-2014, 11:49 AM
 
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I'm surprised that some kids find Narnia a more daunting read than Harry Potter. I don't find a difference, and my 11yo has just finished re-reading both series back to back and to her they felt similar-to-identical in terms of reading level. It just goes to show you how subjective all this is. Perhaps the fact that we're Canadian, and that we've always read a lot of British literature, makes Narnia more accessible to us than it would be to typical American kids. I dunno. 

 

But in any case, aren't the points for AR related more to the length of the book than its level? AR sets a level for the first Harry Potter book at 5.5, and a level for the first Narnia book at 5.7. The Narnia book is much shorter in terms of page count and number of words, which I think is what accounts for the difference in AR points.

 

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#39 of 41 Old 03-25-2014, 02:35 PM
 
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I think it was challenging because the Narnia books are (sorry, fans!) a little boring as compared to Harry Potter, esp if you've read HP first. I was in my 30s when I started reading the Harry Potter books and I enjoyed them very much so I decided to find other children's books I might enjoyed. The first thing everyone suggests is the Narnia series and I personally found them kind of dull. I guess when I say "challenge" I mean it's just a slower pace and the language is a little old fashioned. I'm hoping she'll have more patience for it when she gets older, but I've never managed to finish the first book. It just does not grab me in any way.

My husband is English and he's shared a lot of his childhood favorites with her. She still seems to prefer more modern books.
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#40 of 41 Old 03-25-2014, 04:37 PM
 
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If she likes HP she should try the Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage. Magyck is the first one. They're big and fat (maybe leading to lots of AR points), but about on the level of the first HP book. Similar story, but set in a neverwhen time. Lots of humor and pretty fast paced.

 

I agree that the points thing is what would make my kids hate AR. My kids, especially dd1, are not very competitive and these sort of things backfire with them.


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#41 of 41 Old 03-25-2014, 07:29 PM
 
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Great, thanks!

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