Hi, Angela! I understand this completely. I do have students with high Reading Counts points, yet it is not a reflection of what they read. They have been encouraged to read other books this year that are not "in the system", and I loved seeing the spark in their eyes.
Friday, for example, one of my boys got done reading The Thief, which is not "in the system". I asked him how he liked it, and he blurted out, "IT WAS AWESOME!" Then he went on talking about the novel for five minutes. He also read Dean Lorey's books earlier in the year, which were not books that were tested. I tell him, "Please, read what you want. Life is that way. I'm sure you'll read some books that are in Reading Counts, but you don't need to be tested on every book you ever read." (He had to in a past class, though, and stick to a certain Lexile.)
He, however, does have the highest points in the class, over 200, because he is an (extremely) avid reader and some of his chapter books racks up loads of points.
It is the same for the other kids... I don't like the question of, "Is this a Reading Counts book?" or "Is this on Reading Counts?" Sure, we read chapter books in class (Number the Stars, Indian in the Cupboard, The Westing Game, The Ghost's Grave, and Orphan of Ellis Island) that are on there, but it honestly does not matter to me. I have had students read other books and LOVE them. For my 1,600 books, it's going to stay that way... the books will NOT have to be on Reading Counts or AR.
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