10 Reasons Why Accelerated Reader Should Not Be Required (editorial)

10 Reasons Why Accelerated Reader Should Not Be Required (editorial)

Noah Fry, Author

AR, or “Accelerated Reader”, is a program that is used in the West Branch Area School District. The purpose for AR is to improve reading comprehension and reading fluency. Students gain AR “points” by taking tests about the book that they have read. Students have to get 17 AR points every marking period. This makes up 20% of students’ English grade. In my opinion, AR is not necessary. Here are ten reasons why I believe that AR should not be required for high school students:

1. Not Every Single Book is AR

Not every book is AR, limiting reading selection for kids. I’ve known kids who have said that they have read a book, and it wasn’t AR. AR has a restricted book selection, making some books not read by kids. Students should be expanding their horizons and reading new types of books, and yet they can’t because some books do not have an AR test to go with it.

2. AR Makes Reading Seem Like A Chore

Reading should be an activity for students to enjoy. With AR, students feel like they have to read a number of books in a limited amount of time. This makes the reading unenjoyable and makes reading feel more like homework.

3. Students Are Always Reading

Whether you’re scrolling through social media, or you’re in a history class, you’re always reading. Students read in almost every class. Your brain is still comprehending no matter what you read. You’re comprehending this article that you’re reading right now.

4. AR is Based On Reading Level

The number of points a book is worth depends on the reading level. If a student has a lower reading level, they have to read more books to achieve the 17 points he or she needs for the marking period. That is not fair to the student with the lower reading level.

5. AR Costs Money

The cost of AR is $4 for student per year and a $1,599 one-time fee. That’s a lot of money going down the drain. That money can be used for other educational purposes, and not a reading program that is unnecessary.

6. Answers Are Easy to Get

Cheating is fairly simple when it comes to AR. You can find answers to the tests online, or get them from friends. Simply memorize them, and get your AR points. This is considered cheating, and a lot of students get away with it every year.

7. Statistics Show That Some Students Can Barely Earn Their Points

According to Relearn, the company that makes AR, students can barely get their points every marking period. If a student reads for 20 minutes EVERY DAY in the marking period, he or she can get 19-25 points (depending on the grade level). A lot of students don’t have time to read for twenty minutes every day, including weekends. Also, the point amount depends on the student’s reading level, fluency, or comprehension. Some students don’t have the skill to read at their grade level. This means that the student has to read more frequently to achieve his or her points. This is where we come to a stalemate. Students don’t have the time to read more frequently.

8. Students Get Caught Up in How Many Points a Book Is Worth

Picture this: a student picks out a book from the library that he or she might like. The student puts the book back because it is not enough AR points. A student shouldn’t have to do that. He or she should read whatever book he or she likes, and not get caught up in how many points a book is worth.

9. AR Does Not Encourage Growth

AR does not encourage the growth of a student’s reading level. For example, AR suggests books for the student to read. Instead of wanting the student to grow, AR is suggesting that students read books at the same or around the same reading level that they are currently in. This does not encourage growth or improvement for reading.

10. Students Do Not Have Time for AR

On the average weekday, I have about an hour of free time. All of the other time is used for school, sleeping, studying, and extracurricular activities. I barely have any free time to read. I know that other students have other time-consuming extracurricular activities or sports to do, and that worsens the situation. With the amount of homework that comes with school, and the number of extracurricular activities students are in, they do not have the time to read 17 points worth of books.

In conclusion, AR is not a necessary program for high school students. Students are already reading a lot in their classes, and don’t need to be reading extra. To add to that, students don’t even have the time to read AR books. Even if students did have time, they’d have to choose from a limited book selection. These are the reasons why AR should not be required in high school.