PICKENS COUNTY — Schools across the county kicked off their annual Accelerated Reader program, a series of computer based tests and quizzes based upon both fiction and non-fiction reading materials, designed to do one thing: get kids to pick up a book.
The idea is simple. Unlike regular classroom administrated tests, based upon text books, Accelerated Reader (AR) has a much broader source to draw from — novels. Kids at all reading levels are encouraged to read because they can choose what it is they want to read about.
When finished with a book, the students take computer based quizzes that have been individually tailored for each specific title. The quizzes measure things like reading comprehension, information retention and can help determine whether or not the student is reading at grade level.
Because the quiz results and reports are available to the teachers on demand, students in need of extra help or intervention can be more quickly identified.
Paige Holliday, Title I coordinator for McKissick Elementary School, kicked off this year’s AR program by offering students a unique reward for the students.
“Every time you read a book and take one of the quizzes, you get points,” Holliday said during an assembly of kindergartners through second graders. “When you get point, you get to put your name in for the drawing. At the end of the program, we’ll draw out a name and that person will get to throw a pie at (McKissick Principal) Mr. (Gary) Mohr.”
The kids went nuts.
Other levels of points would result in more faculty getting pied, an incentive that seemed to hit its mark with students already plotting who they would most like to hit with a pie. After the assembly, every student was provided with a brand new book to get started with.
The program will run for the next nine weeks, but the hope is that AR will instill a love of reading in the kids so that they continue to pick up a book even when not bribed by pastry.
“I’m going to read 20 books!” One little girl shouted excitedly as the students filed out of the gym following the assembly.
“I hope you do,” Holliday replied.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.