Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reading Counts - Not Really

We had conferences for Big, Middle and Little Sister a few days ago. They received glowing reports from their teachers.  However, Big Sister is in Middle School now. We are meeting new teachers and learning new expectations.  One of them is Reading Counts, which in my mind is Scholastic's answer to Accelerated Reader.

And I hate Accelerated Reader.  I think it is a fine program for some students, but not all. I would not have enjoyed it one little bit.  Big Sister did a fine job in the first trimester. But the expectations are getting tougher. She only will get points if she reads IN HER LEXILE LEVEL.  Well, guess what? Her lexile level is really high.  She has a lot of nothing to choose from.  

The good news is that her teacher was very nice.  The bad news is that when Big Sister went to school after conferences and inquired about reading a book that is below her lexile she was told it wouldn't count.  

For anyone not understanding lexile and AR levels and how they are derived:  these levels are derived only from the number of syllables in a hundred word passage and the number of sentences. There is some mathematical formula that then shows the level of a book.  It does not take into account the book's content. 

So, Big Sister could have read The Giver by Lois Lowry in second grade.  Eighth graders read it in our district.  Now it is too far below her lexile level to count it, yet I contend the content is something that needs to be taken into account and is not appropriate for young but proficient readers.  

ARGH!  I think her teacher and I have worked things out, but the whole experience makes me dislike Reading Counts just as much as I dislike AR.  

Do your schools incorporate programs like these?  What are your thoughts?

I want my children to love to read, to read widely, to read for pleasure, and to be lifelong readers.


Jana said...

I just hate leveling books!! And I hate that the new common core even talks about Lexile Levels. And I HATE AR!!

Ti said...

We had Reading Counts at one point but what was completely idiotic is that my son, when entering junior high was handed a book that was probably 5th grade level because the average of the district as a whole, was low. He is not the best reader but a 5th grade book? He was bored to tears. Not a good way to turn a kid into a reader, if you ask me.