Accelerated Reader Genre Challenge

Here is a fun way to encourage your students to select a wider variety of AR reading material.

The Accelerated Reader program makes it very easy to keep track of students’ reading. Student progress is measured by reading level, point value, and percent correct. Kids can read pretty much anything so long as they fit their material within those parameters.

I noticed that my students were staying well within their comfort zones and missing out on the array of genres available to them. I also noticed that students tended to read a lot more fiction than nonfiction. While fiction is fun, nonfiction is increasingly emphasized in standardized testing to reflect its importance in the real world.

I created the AR Genre Challenge. Over the course of a nine week grading period, students had to read from a selected list of genres, but they chose the book. Spaces were reserved for free choice.

I keep track of the Genre Challenge with a class list generated by our grading software. I tape the list to a piece of construction paper and decorate it a little for flair, then label the boxes with genres. Here are some suggestions:

Fiction Nonfiction
Science fiction
Historical fiction
Realistic fiction
Fairy tale
Myth and legend
Free choice
Vehicles (cars, trucks, planes, etc.)
Places (states, countries, regions)
Environments (jungle, desert, etc)
Ancient cultures
Free choice

You can measure progress by book or by point value. There are pros and cons to each system; you have to decide what is best for your class.

How to use AR student records to keep track of the challenge

I use the individual student record function to keep track of the AR Stamp Sheet. The record is great because you can customize the date range so you don’t have to wade through records you’ve already seen. I just keep a note by my computer of when I last checked records so I know where to start this time.

Print (or view) the report after students have left for the school day so you know that you are capturing all tests up to that day. Fill in the chart with the books you can identify by genre. Highlight the titles you can’t easily classify and ask the student about them the next day.

I highly recommend you use one whole-class chart to keep track of the challenge. When I first started this system, I used individual stamp sheets, and the admin took MUCH longer. Plus, it’s good for students to see others making progress.

At the end of the quarter, have a blowout party for students who completed the Genre Challenge.

Happy reading!

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Posted in Accelerated Reader (AR) by Corey Green @ Sep 13, 2012


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