This past year a teacher on my grade level said she made AR a center every week during Guided Reading. It was one less center for her to think about. When I was in a jam one week I decided to give it a try. I checked out a basket full of AR books of varying levels to accommodate the different readers in my class. I wasn't surprised that they were excited about it when I first introduced it. They are usually pretty pumped about anything new, especially when it's presented in an exciting way.
My rules for the AR center were 1) Read the book at least 2 times. 2) Fill out an AR Ticket before taking the test. My AR tickets helped me to keep track of who was reading what and how they were doing with the comprehension skills as assessed through the AR tests. It also required my students to practice identifying the tite, author and illustrator of the book. Click on the picture below to get a copy of my AR ticket.
I kept a basket next to the computer where students could turn in their completed AR tickets.
My fear for this center was that if we did it every week, the kids would grow tired of it and lose interest and we all know what happens when they lose interest! Off task, goofing off, etc. So I decided to make it a challenge for the students. From time to time I would go through the basket and check up on my students. They did not receive grades for AR tests, but the Tickets certainly gave me a quick informal assessment of their reading comprehension levels. Any test scoring below an 80% was marked and returned to the student. I went back into the program, erased the score, and gave them a second chance to reread the book and retake the test. Then I made a chart on which I recorded any test the student scored 100% . If a student earned 10 100% AR tests, he/she received a certificate to the 100% club and a trip to the treasure box. (I got some really cute certificates at the Dollar Tree.) They were very excited about this! They were even really excited each time I changed out the basket of books with new titles.
By the end of the year I had 2 students who earned over 40 100% AR Tests! You should have seen my students' faces when I announced how many they had earned.
If you're looking to get your students interested and motivated with AR, try this! It's not really pressuring them into taking the tests, but it does encourage them to do the tests and focus on reading comprehension. It also rewards students who put forth the effort and the choice is still theirs. Some challenge themselves with harder books and take several in one day. Others may just take their time with 1. Still a good way to start.