What is AR?

For some parents and kids, AR is a dirty word, something that makes teachers harass students. If kids don’t make their AR goal, they may not earn prizes, parties or accolades in general.

But before this seems too negative, I will tell you to look positively at AR, which stand for “Accelerated Reading.” Although it can seem to limit, it can also help parents and kids find their way in a great big world of books.

I first discovered AR as a tool to find out how many words a book contained. As a writer, it interested me to see how different novels fared in various markets, and how long they truly are. When my daughter started using it at the end of first grade, I’d already grown comfortable, and looking up books of interest for level and points became second nature.

Like most things in life, I think taking a positive spin can either make or break a resource. I choose to be positive about AR while understanding its limitations. During the summer, we don’t look at it much. During the school year, we pick books from it until the AR goal is reached. Generally, I find most of the books they like are in their level. My kids generally double their goal, if not more, no pressure from Mom. Also, it tells me if a book is MG (middle grade) or UG (upper grade). This is a big deal, especially since many UG books have content meant for teens but written at the fifth (5.0+) or sixth (6.0+) grade level.

So take a look and get comfortable. It’s in your kids best interest for now, until things change. But it’s actually a pretty cool thing. Just remember, your child should pick books that excite them, no matter what!

Learn more at Accelerated Reader Bookfinder.