How A Movie Fixed What Accelerated Reader Broke

A week ago, Disney channel aired the movie, Judy Moody. My nephew has been obsessed since. He immediately told his mom that he wanted the books and excitedly brought home his scholastic book order form for his mother to order them. (More on this later) He has never asked for books before….NEVER. Braeden would rather draw instead of read because until now, reading has been a chore.

homeworkWeekly, Braeden brings home a school printed chapter reader and must read it every night. On Friday, he and his classmates take turns on their classroom computers to take the accelerated reader test related to their “homework reader” which doesn’t even test for fluency but for comprehension. The stories are boring and in most cases un-relatable. He hates them and I’ll be honest I hate listening to them…but we do it. Maybe the idea is to embed the “read it 4 times and then answer the questions” idea in his STAAR test-centric classroom. Regardless of their purpose, it could’ve planted a seed of pure venom towards reading as it did in my children, which we fixed in much of the same way.

Yesterday evening, I sat with Braeden as he paused the movie to flip immediately to the section of the book related to the movie. Clearly, he’d read that book several times without being told to do so. He did it because he loved it! We discussed differences in the book and movie. He thought about it and decided that “movies can’t do what all books say,  like you can’t really find a moon rock”, a reference in the book that was missing from the movie.

My highlight was Braeden’s excitement at explaining how when he reads he imagines the voices from the movie in his mind and that sometimes he even changes them to what he imagines that they would be.

I’m proud to say that we finally have a reader!

The Scholastic Alternative

I’ve always felt a bit of bitterness towards sending home the scholastic forms especially for families that could not afford the books. That’s like planting kids next to the candy aisle in a store for a family on a fixed budget.  My sister’s alternative was to take him to Half Price books instead. Braeden was able to get three books for $1.99 each and that was a win! While he could’ve checked them out in the library, we believe that ownership of books is important too, especially with this being his first time making such a request.

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