Sunday, May 14, 2006

Reading Madness

Today was our Third Annual AR (Accelerated Reader) T-Shirt Day. It is all great fun- total chaos with kids running to and fro – a total school wide celebration of reading. It is the reading equivalent of winning the state championship in football.

It takes either 50 or 100 points to earn the shirt – which means reading at least 100 books. Those books are really read, since the AR test has to be passed to earn the points.

This year 95 children reached that particular milestone – about 1/5 of our student body.

We started the day by slapping stickers on every T-shirt we saw. Every hour a faculty member got on the intercom and invited everyone wearing a shirt to come to their office for a treat or trinket. The kids “power walked “ – running was frowned on- from one end of the school to the other. Random pieces of candy dropped into their hands, not mention pencils, bookmarks and Hot Cheetoes. The kids giggled, laughed and thoroughly celebrated their accomplishment.

AR is not without controversy, but when it comes to motivating the low SES / ESL student, it is one of the best programs out there. Those sorts of children need the immediate positive reinforcement that AR provides. Our reading scores are rock solid – we always score in the 90% or better and our book circulation has soared.

One second grader summed it up “Today was the best day of school ever.”


landismom said...

That sounds really fun. My daughter's elementary school is too small to have a full-time librarian, and reading your posts makes me really wish that that wasn't the case.

Nancy said...

It does indeed sound like great fun! And a full time librarian who really loves books is beyond the measure of price.


"Ms. Cornelius" said...

There is nothing wrong with AR-- as long as kids have other choices.

BTW, I really was kidding about the library crack over at Education in Texas. I LOVE libraries and librarians. It's that Texas-Okie thing-- couldn't help myself....

Julie said...

That sounds so fun!

My son's 4th grade teacher did a cool thing. They had two days of Reading & Writing Camp. They moved all the desks out of the classroom and set up little tents. For two days they did nothing but read and write in the tents. Some structured assignments, some free choice time. The kids LOVED it. Too bad it was just the one classroom.