Friday, August 28, 2009

Reading for Points

Have you heard of the Accelerated Reader program in which students earn points for books they read? Books like the Harry Potter ones receive more points than many classics. The Potter books receive anywhere from 35 to 40 points while Hamlet earns 10 points and Sense and Sensibility garners 30 points. Accelerated Reader is a computerized management program intended to motivate students to read. Students earn a specific number of points for books read outside of school once they complete an online multiple-choice quiz to test their comprehension.

Apparently, the program is used in 75,000 schools nationwide, according to a New York Times article (August 27, 2009). The article notes that program “helps teachers track student reading through computerized comprehension tests and awards students points for books they read based on length and difficulty, as measured by a scientifically researched readability rating.” The site offers
125,000 quizzes on literature.

In your estimation, is a computerized program that assesses students’ reading comprehension and awards points a valuable contribution to education and the promotion of literacy skills?

Access the
New York Times article for more information:
Illustration by Ahl & Company

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