For the library, one question I hear a lot is "Are you guys doing AR?" The short answer is no. The long answer is why not. If you don't care, then enjoy a little more of your summer before we dive back in to school goodness. Read another book and then come tell me about it when we open on Monday, August 14th!
If you do care, or are just curious, about why Kepler doesn't use AR, read on.
First, you may have heard of it but not know exactly what it is. AR stands for Accelerated Reader. It's a system that assigns points to books, lets kids log in and take multiple choice quizzes, and tracks how many points each child gets. It's meant to help teachers know what books and how many are being read, and give information that can be used for competitions or rewards.
On the teacher's side, even if a student scores well on a quiz, we don't know if he or she just guessed well. If they don't score well, we still don't know if that really reflects what they got out of the book. The best way to know what someone thought about a book is to talk to them. Talking about books also allows reading to be part of building a relationship, between peers, between students and teachers, between any reader and the rest of the world. AR just reports points, not the most surprising part of the book, or the way we wish it had ended.
For most kids, this focus on points steers them away from reading for enjoyment. Once reading becomes a chore, it also becomes something a kid stops doing as soon as it's no longer required. That's not how we #feedtheread to become life-long readers and learners.
So you may now be wondering what Kepler does to #feedtheread. We have a beautiful library with a wide range of books - wide in terms of style, subject, genre, difficulty, format - WIDE! Students will come in with their classes for library visits and will be allowed to come in before school as well as during school with teacher permission. Note - the library is still under a little construction after some donations and orders - we expect it to be open the second week of school.
Teachers will talk to students about what students are reading and what teachers are reading. We'll have literary celebrations like the Literacy O'Lanterns and Peach Blossom and guest readers.
Here's a link to a blog post about another school that moved on from AR, if you're curious about what it looks like in other schools. If you want to know about reading choice, here's one of my favorite blog posts about research on why choice matters.
If you have questions, please come see me or drop me an email through s dot addison at keplerschool dot org. I'm always happy to talk about books.