…While Amazon.com and other online booksellers boast lists of best sellers and a local librarian can advise on which books are in frequent circulation,
neither can tell you if any of these books were ever opened, much less
if they were read cover to cover. Renaissance Learning has unique
insight into the books kids are reading, and we are pleased to share this
information with you for the first time….
The above is from Renaissance Learning’s self-proclaimed “Groundbreaking Report” [sic]: What Books Are Students Reading in Grades 1–12?
Please. All this reports tells us is what books kids are reading for their school’s Accelerated Reader program. Cover to cover? Well, some kids may really be losing themselves in the books, but I suspect (based on my own years as a teacher and earlier ones as a kid doing SRA which was also quiz-based) that they are far more concerned with collecting book credits than in properly reading them. To my mind this report has way less crede than the above disparaged stats from booksellers and librarians. For those unfamiliar with AR, this is how it works (according to their own website):
- Student Reads a Book. Students choose books at their appropriate reading levels and read them at their own pace. Visit AR BookFinder to search for available titles.
- Student Takes a Quiz. Accelerated Reader Enterprise offers more than 120,000 quizzes to help you motivate and monitor students’ reading and vocabulary growth.
- You Get Information. You get immediate feedback on the reading and vocabulary progress of each student.
Seems benign, right? Well, not exactly. Well, hold on. See that “Visit AR BookFinder to search for available titles.”? Means, just that — not all books are part of this program. Besides, since when did a simplistic “quiz” indicated that a kid really read a book thoroughly? Hate to tell you, guys. It doesn’t.
About as groundbreaking as …. I don’t know…sliced bread?