AR page on Teaching Resources where I could share these resources. One example is the AR Point Record form show here that my students used when working to earn 100 AR points.
Unfortunately, after many years of using the program, I realized that a steady diet of AR might have some unintended side effects. It became clear that kids were reading to earn points and prizes, and it wasn't motivating most of them to enjoy reading for the sake of reading. I saw it happening to my students, and I finally faced the truth when I talked to my own daughters about why they didn't enjoy reading. Both of them were completely turned off by the pressure to read AR books, rack up points, and earn high scores on tests.
During my last year of teaching, I completely abandoned the AR program in favor of the Reading Workshop approach, and I saw a dramatic difference in my students' feelings about reading. They began to love reading and they made excellent progress on their state exams, even without AR. I loved Reading Workshop so much that I eventually wrote a book about it - Power Reading Workshop: A Step-by-Step Guide.
Because of my change of heart regarding AR, I've struggled with whether or not to remove those teacher-made tests and other materials from my website. Although I no longer wanted to promote AR, I knew that many people still liked the program or were required to use it, and they enjoyed my free resources. So I left that page online .... until now.
A few days ago I received an email from an intellectual property rights lawyer stating that I was not properly crediting Renaissance Learning with owning the trademarks for AR and Accelerated Reader. The lawyer wrote that I must include a statement on my home page and on every page where I reference AR with a statement saying that AR and Accelerated Reader are registered trademarks of Renaissance Learning, Inc. On my home page? I think not! For now, I have added the proper credits to the Accelerated Reading page and I'm leaving it in place for a few more days so that anyone who needs those materials can download them. Better download those freebie now if you want them!
However, at the end of the day on April 10th I will remove all Accelerated Reader content from my website. It was a step that I probably needed to take because one of the top Google search terms for my site has been "AR test answers." Hmm.... I'm quite sure that those searches are not by educators! So I'm actually glad for receiving the nudge I needed to remove those resources from my site. By the way, did I remember to properly credit Renaissance Learning in this blog post? In case I didn't make it crystal clear, AR and Accelerated Reader are registered trademarks of Renaissance Learning, Inc. I wouldn't want anyone to think that I was profiting from the company's trademarked resources - especially since all my AR resources were free.
Do you use AR in your classroom? What are your thoughts about the program? Have you seen it used effectively? If so, what made the program effective? If you don't think it's effective, what caused you to feel this way? Let's all be respectful in voicing our opinions. I know this can be a hot topic!