Reading Competitions, Accelerated Reader and Extrinsic Motivations

Don't know where I stand on the issue of using competition to encourage reading. All five of our reading teachers use Accelerated Reader and I argue how much I hate the low-level complexity and extrinsic motivation involved with it, but they are unyielding and it is still in use at my school.... What do you guys think? 

From BBC: Reading: Competition to encourage love of books

© 2007-2012 Cheryl Vanatti for


Sal's Fiction Addiction said...

I think it's imperative for children to learn that reading is its own reward. That message is clearly demonstrated to them only when those people they admire and count on instill that belief with action and in everything they do to encourage their children at school and at home to find true joy in the printed word. To do that our teachers and parents need to be engaged readers, not just people who 'teach' reading. We all need to read what Alfie Kohn has been saying for years about punishing our kids with rewards.

Ms. Yingling said...

AR generally makes me want to bang my head on the desk. The more reasonable teachers require just one test a month. Then there were my children's teachers, who required them to have 35 points per month, and only on their level. Which was 12.9+ in second grade. That was painful. If AR went away at my school, I would not be sad. It doesn't motivate my students, it just irritates them, especially since we don't do the online version, and the fun new books don't have tests.

Sandra Stiles said...

I was so glad when our school no longer had it in the budget to fund AR. My students asked at the beginning of the year if we had AR. Those who were good readers and always earned the high points were disappointed. Those who struggled were happy. They didn't seem to mind that I had a minimum requirement of books read because I told them I had books of all levels and genres which meant I had something for them. It is funny how many parents have told me their kids like reading since entering my class and not having AR.