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Dear LM_NETTERS, we have recently implemented Accelerated Reader at my K-5
school. I have a personal hangup with giving prizes to children in order to
encourage them to read. Whatever happened to reading for reading sake?
Should we teach children to expect extrinsic rewards for something, such as
reading, that has intrinsic value? I actually had a student the other day
who was visibly upset because she read a book and it wasn't on the disk!
What had she done other than read a book--what was wrong with that? I think
she missed the point. I'm not in to offering challenges to see which class
can read the most books and get the most answers correct. I think that it
encourages unhealthy competition. And I certainly don't want to promise to
get on top of the school building if the children read a certain number of
books, as my principal suggested!

My daughter is a graduate student and is planning to do a proposal on this
very subject. Maybe following up on high school students who were involved
in Accelerated Reader(or similar programs) in elementary and middle school
to find out if those students are now avid readers. Or, when the prizes
stopped coming, did they lose interest in reading? I wonder if any of you
have done or are aware of any research on this topic. I'm sure that the
producers of the programs can produce plenty of evidence in favor of them,
but she is interested in information from a more neutral source. She would
appreciate any feedback on the subject that might help her in developing her
topic. TIA

Please reply to me at: naellis@eastnet.educ.ecu.edu

Nancy Ellis
Library Media Specialist
Johnson Elementary School
Rocky Mount, NC

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