Making AR a Test grade-why it’s a Bad Idea

One of the premises of ReadRunRoot is to develop lifelong habits which will make reading, exercise, and eating healthy foods pleasurable events.

This month’s blog will focus on how some schools are making that concept difficult by making AR points count as a test grade. Years ago, when my kids were in elementary school, AR was an optional activity, which students could do “for fun.” In fact, it was a great way to encourage the development of “recreational” reading, or, reading for fun.

Fast forward to today. Now, reading for fun is no longer an option. Nope, AR, in some schools, is a mandate, and counts for an entire test grade. Much like ultra-competitive sports, and elite sports teams, schools are sucking the life out of what should be a pleasurable, relaxing activity.

We need to let kids be kids. We need to let them find their own way. We need to take away the electronics. We need to let them entertain themselves. We need to let them choose which books they want to read. We need to let them read, recreationally, for 20-30 minutes. And, it needs to stop there. We don’t need them to have to take quizzes to “prove” they read the book. We don’t need them to “compete” for points, so their teacher can have classroom bragging rights. The most we should request is that they write one sentence about what they read each night.

As adults, we hate to be micro-managed, yet that’s exactly what is happening to our kids. No wonder there has been such an explosion of childhood depression and anxiety.

It’s time to stop. Let kids read for fun, let them play, for fun. Let them make mistakes, and  learn from them. Let them live……

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