Our school requires A.R. and over the past year and a half (that's all the longer I've been teaching) I worried that my students were not reading a big enough variety of materials. I have started a reading log for home. The students read every evening for 30 minutes. I have told them that this can be anything (ex. A.R. books, newspapers, magazines, online articles, books to a little sibling, etc.). In return, when they bring back their signed log at the end of the week they receive A.R. points just for reading. I know that this still includes the extrinsic motivation, however I'm happy to report that it looks like my students have been reading a wider variety of materials!!
I also am a huge fan of the conferences with the students. I am doing Daily 5/Cafe with my students and I'm very pleased by the results! My kids love that time to read with other students, to themselves, to do word work, and to write! With the changes I have made to my teaching and their reading habits, I'm happy to report that testing scores have begun to rise! :-)
Thanks so much for all of the information you shared. I know that A.R. will be around for a long time in our school, so I'll just have to keep adding on my little twists!
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