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How are you using Accelerated Reader (AR) in your classroom? Do you feel AR is a good tool for differentiation and motivation?

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I'm just not sure how AR is a differentiation tool. Its not a teaching tool or strategy but a quiz tool. I think it could be motivational, but not part of differentiated instruction.
I differentiate by helping each student set goals based on their individual reading ability. We give the STAR reading test to get a general idea, and then adjust them as needed. I disagree with teachers who set one goal for the entire class. It's not good teaching to expect the poorest readers to read as much as the best readers. Likewise, setting one low goal so that everyone can meet it is a disservice to the brightest students.
I am using AR. I am not sure how to use it for differentiation, but it can be motivational for some students. Pizza Hut has given us coupons to use as needed. I give a coupon once a month for the students who score 10/10 on the quiz.
I don't look at individual quizzes as much as I look at their Average Percent Correct. AR says that should be between 85% and 92%. If students consistently get 10 out of 10 on quizzes, they need to be reading harder books. Since my grade is the first year they use AR, I'm lenient at first about letting them read "easy" books, but after we get rolling, I encourage them to read books that will increase their vocabulary and introduce them to new authors and writing techniques. We work to find "just right books" and reinforce this idea.
Those lessons you do on finding the right books are the differentiation part. The quiz and the test score are not. The scores should only be helping teachers know if their kids are choosing the right books or if they need help with comprehension.
Right. And the setting of goals is important too. Helping each student choose the right books, giving them time to read them, and setting goals appropriate to their individual reading ability means that each student has the opportunity to succeed at their own level. Differentiation.
Just to get the students motivated and reading, I start out simple.



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