I, too, am unfamiliar with this “Accelerated Reader” program and perhaps I’m the better off for it. Books are assigned a point value, and students, upon reading those books and passing a test, are awarded those points. It’s unclear what happens when you reach your point goal.
Putting aside the debate over whether any of that is a good idea, we jump to the meat of the matter, the point list. For a formula that is supposedly based on reading difficulty and word count, we get a list in which the big fat Harry Potter books score a 44 out of 50, while Hamlet scores a 7. Gossip Girl (I thought that was just a movie, shows how old I am) even rated an 8.
I think the problem should be obvious. Hamlet, being a play rather than an overrated novel written specifically to turn into a movie franchise, has far far fewer words than JK Rowling’s juggernaut. It’s all dialogue. Even with a brief swag at it, you look at say 800 pages of Harry Potter compared to the maybe 30-50 pages that it takes to print Hamlet, and it’s no contest.
That would be even somewhat acceptable if the other variable, reading level, was realistic. And that, obviously, is where it fails. Maybe Harry Potter gets a 2nd or 3rd grade reading level, while Hamlet gets 10th grade. Who knows, but really, who cares? Harry is still going to win.
I think this system needs a third variable. Maybe we call it “depth”, “value” or even “relevance”.
Harry Potter books? 2.
Now we can have a conversation about relative merit.