That is all Ye Need to Know…

Despite having more time to read, however, AR classes in the upper grades did not do better than comparisons. It is possible that the use of AR tests emphasizing low-level, literal facts, focused students on retaining small details of the books they read in order to get higher scores on tests. This means shallower involvement in reading, less of a chance of a student getting “lost in the book” (Nell, 1988), or entering the “Reading Zone” (Atwell, 2007), the state of mind that readers are in when they are absorbed in a text. This state may be optimal for language acquisition and literacy development (Krashen, 2007). A shorter time reading, but spent in the Reading Zone, may be more effective than more reading outside the Zone.

Stephen Krashen

Preparing for a UCI Writing Project presentation over the past week and half, my life was taken over while I tried to finish it.  Buried with projects at home as well, I had to squeeze in time at recess, after school, and at Kate’s gym class in order to finish something that I could present.My weekly prep time therefore found me in my school’s computer lab while my kids were on-line, several of whom were actively engaged in taking Accelerated Reader quizzes.

The idea behind Accelerated Reader is that you read a book and then take the computerized quiz about the book.  The company behind Accelerated Reader, Renaissance Learning describes AR as:

…a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his own level and reads it at his own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read.) AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.

J. was one of the kids working on Accelerated Reader.  She was busily answering her quiz questions as the period ended, prompting her classmate, K. to ask her, “I didn’t know you were reading The Hunger Games also!”

J:  “I didn’t.  I just saw the movie.”

J. passed her quiz.

*This* explains a great deal about Accelerated Reader.

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