These are the slides from a recent Parent Connect session I led with Karin Hallett. We use AR at our school as a tool to help us in our choice literacy efforts. AR is far from a perfect tool, but it is what we have, and I find that it does help me acquire data that parents want. The problem is that parents can become overly attached to the numbers AR and STAR Reading provide. As a teacher, I assess my students’ reading growth in a wide variety of ways, these tools (AR, STAR) being only one piece of the puzzle.

Karin and I have noticed with dismay how many parents are pushing their students to read higher AR book levels. I have had several students tell me, “I can’t read that book (a book I have suggested I think they would really like). It’s below my AR level, and my mom doesn’t allow me to read books below my level.” Karin has had parents come into the library demanding to know why their child isn’t reading at a higher level.

Sadly, many parents seem to have the schooly belief that the whole point of reading is achievement and that pushing children to read higher-level books will equate to “better” readers. There is so much wrong with this I don’t know where to start dismantling the argument. It’s yet another symptom of the disease of schooliness we are suffer from here in the US (I can’t speak for other countries, but I postulate that it is the same or worse in many other places in the world).

Parent Connect: Reading Lives vs. Reading Levels from Andrea Hernandez

Note: The carrot picture on the last slide. I really wanted to include that, as I love what it communicates. However, I’ve not been able to find a source for attribution. You can see that it is posted all over the web without attribution. If anyone can share a source, please do! In the meantime, I am going to leave it in my slides.