Broken Hearted #Slice – 31 of 31

It’s Easter. It’s the last day of March and the last day of this challenge for 2013.

Those things are good.

Other things have not been so good.

Things like my nephew telling me at the bookstore this afternoon that he can’t really pick any books to read if they don’t have AR tests for them at school broke my heart. It’s a new program for his school this year and they are supposedly going easy on them. You need to earn a certain amount of points from the tests each marking period – no talk of Lexiles yet, but he told me he was docked points for reading something his teacher thought was too easy for him.

He’s not reading much these days outside of what he has to read for those tests. And he’s not doing that with much enthusiasm.

This change in him makes me sick.

If you’d seen this kid read before now – devoured three or four books when he’d stay with us for a weekend – you’d be sick, too.

I mentioned to him that there are authors who have flunked the AR tests for the books they have penned. He didn’t seem all that surprised by this.

That makes me sick, too.

He went home with two new books that likely won’t get tested. Something tells me his district hasn’t paid for tests for them yet. They’re too new. Maybe that means he can just enjoy them…


8 thoughts on “Broken Hearted #Slice – 31 of 31

  1. That is heartbreaking. I am glad my school does not have AR. I railed against them enough as a parent and worked very hard to create an underground reader. She figured out how to pas the tests (sometimes without reading the book) and then read what she wanted the rest of the time. High school is a different challenge, but she has found relief in rereading old favorites this year.

  2. This is heartbreaking. Kind of makes me remember the way SRA sucked the love out of reading for me as a kid.

    I have a feeling you still have a chance to positively impact him, Cindy. If anyone can, you can!

  3. Ohhhhh, that makes me so angry. I feel like it is walking uphill in a sandstorm, but we must keep fighting. My daughter bought 5 books the day before vacation. Thank goodness she has not fallen prey to the machine that saps the love of reading from our children. She grew up in a workshop school. Thank you, Lucy Calkins!

  4. Keep heart, our schools use AR and have for years. My students just have to get a certain number of points per grading period and I let them read whatever as long as they are reading. My second grader’s teacher is a little more anal about reading levels and what they can check out at library. If my daughter wants to read something out of level I just send it with her. You will find once they adjust to the system it isn’t so bad and nearly all popular books make it in the system, sometimes it just takes them a few weeks. If they have a good librarian she can get notices when new tests hit. The older students get, generally the less teachers monitor levels, etc. My oldest got over 800 points last year but he read more of the fiction I got for HS rather than “7th grade” books. I am testing this year just to motivate students and I have over 500 and much of what I read is newer. Hang in there, communicate with the school. 😊

  5. Just keep sharing good books with him – with time he will find a way to deal with the points and read what he wants. Good Readers always do. I watched this happen many times. Readers will read! Keep up the faith! and the good fight!

  6. Cindy,

    When I taught 6th grade reading last year I had a boy pick up a book out of one of my baskets and say that he really wished he could read it. I told him go ahead, it’s a great book. He said, nah, it’s not an AR book. My heart dropped. I had already told all 53 of my 6th graders at the beginning of the year that I DON’T DO AR. :) However, it had been instilled in them from 1st-5th so it was hard to break. The majority of them HATED to read. Sigh.

    I might teach 6th grade reading again next year, and I am going to use the workshop method INSTEAD of the basal program. :) There’s hope yet!


  7. Yucky, yucky, yucky. I’m working really hard on my practices at the high school level to create situations where students can rediscover their reading selves, because this story is the high school story for a lot of kids. Nothing to do but keep fighting for what we know is right and best…

    (related to a previous slice of yours, I’ve downloaded and used StayFocused. Thank you. :) )

    • I don’t teach in a district that uses AR, but I know I struggle with my freshmen to find their reading selves again. Some I just need to give them the time, space, & books and they are set. Others…well, some I’m still working to encourage.

      As for StayFocused, you’re welcome. :)

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