The controversy surrounding Accelerated Reader baffles me. Many say this program kills students' intrinsic motivation to read independently. I just don't see it. We have used AR at our school about 8 years now. As I watch my homeroom reading during the half hour slot set aside each day for this purpose, I know students are reading more than ever. Kids are excited about books, authors, series. They talk about books. They beg to go to library together so one can check out the book the other is turning in. The dig through my shelves trying to find one more book by Gary Paulsen or Jean Craighead George.
Our program has seen many changes. Some years, we have awarded prizes for different levels of points earned. Others we simply have students working towards their goal. The prizes seem to make little/no difference in their motivation. Students this year are simply reading, reading for enjoyment, reading for pleasure, reading.... Isn't that wonderful??
Certainly, some students do not read, never make their goal, seldom take a test.... but I see more students than ever choosing to read, choosing to take a book home, utitizing the library.