I like numbers. I like when things can be quantified with solid figures. And I like that Kaitlyn got her “baseline” target for the Accelerated Reader program at school. Accelerated Reader is the program her school will be using to monitor reading progress and improvement (website).
Kaitlyn brought home her AR folder for the first time this week. In it, there was a paper that showed what her current reading level is, which helps Amber and I know what types of books she should be reading. The level is expressed in a range and with color-coded stars, and Kaitlyn’s level is 2.2-3.2, or red star to blue star. The numerical value indicates that she is currently reading on a level somewhere between a 2nd grade 2nd month student and a 3rd grade 2nd month student.
I made sure to tell her how proud I was at the level she is starting out at, and went over a few of our expectations for her. First, we want her to continue to enjoy reading; we are not going to pressure her into reading things she does not want to read, so War and Peace is out, at least until after Christmas. Second, we expect that she will choose most of her books from the blue level, although she is free to choose from the red level as well. The reason behind having her choose from the higher level is to make sure that she continually progresses; we want to make sure to keep challenging her at every turn so she continues to grow as a reader. Most of important of all is that we want her to enjoy what she reads. Right now, her goal is to collect and read each and every Rainbow Magic book, so we will continue to encourage her.
While we have certain expectations, and I am certainly happy to have a starting point to use to monitor her progress, Amber and I both understand that her scores on the AR tests may fluctuate. They will most likely vary because of her tendency to rush through things while not reading the instructions or questions fully, not because she does not know the material. We will have to manage the expectations she places on herself; we have learned from prior experience that her getting a 100% on a practice test makes her put too much stress on herself to duplicate the score on the real thing.
School is off to a good start. The first nine weeks is just about over, and report cards are right around the corner.