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>Elizabeth and all,

I want to explain that I am not an avid supporter of AR.  Our school has
both AR and Reading Counts available for all students K-5.  We do not give
awards or prizes.  We discourage teachers from assigning required point or
book totals and grades connected with AR and RC.  This year we asked
students to set their own goals and will reward those who meet half their
goals in January and full goals in June with food and storytelling (by me).

However, my grandson is a first grade student at a different school in
which the media program is based on AR with rewards and celebrations for
meeting preset (by the MS) goals.  Although we have read to our grandson
nearly every day of his life, he is having difficulty learning to read by
himself and behaving in class.  This summer he participated in the local
public library's reading program and received a medal.  The look of pride
on his face nearly melted my heart.  He does take AR tests, .5 point books
at a time to reach the celebration level of 20 points at the end of the
year.  The media specialist allows parents to read the tests to the child
(as my school does also).  Before my husband reads the answers, he has
already responded with the correct one.  He has passed 20+ tests and is
very proud of himself.  My point is this is fun for him.

I think we need to remember that "one size" never "fits all."  AR is a
reading comprehension program.  Students who can "call out" words won't
necessarily do well; students who cannot read independently may do well.  I
believe my grandson could have been successful in AR in kindergarten.   We
can only judge  the usefullness of this and other techniques by the success
of each individual child and not predetermine whether it is right for all
first graders.

Just my opinion.

Carol Savage
Library Media Specialist
Hawk Ridge Elementary School
Charlotte, NC

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