Owasso schools changing reading programs

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Reported by: Michelle Linn
Updated: 9/04/2013 5:30 pm Published: 9/04/2013 5:16 pm

Owasso students are back in class, and they're finding something is missing.

One student told FOX23 he hasn't even gotten his library book out of his backpack this year.

Owasso schools used the AR program for the last two decades, but FOX23 found out two things: budget cuts and Common Core standards led officials to get rid of it this year.

“Common Core talks about quality and going in depth on the books that you are reading, understanding more about it,” said Diana Bishline, the director of elementary curriculum for Owasso Public Schools.

She told FOX23 the accelerated reader program just doesn't make sense for the district anymore.

They're working to adopt federal Common Core standards that demand critical thinking; with AR she said, “it was quantity versus quality.”

With the AR program, students read books, and then took short quizzes to test comprehension. They scored AR points, and were rewarded with pizza parties when they met their goals every nine weeks.

Now that's gone.

“There's been a library book in his backpack and he hasn't gotten it out since school started, he even told me, there's no AR, so I don't have to read,” said Mishelle McDowell, a mother.

McDowell was disappointed to see AR cut.

“I couldn't believe they cancelled the program,” she said.

“We have some teachers who aren't happy that we don’t' have AR,” said Bishline.

Bishline said the district was spending up to $50,000 a year on AR.

Now, it's up to teachers to find new ways to motivate students to read and they'll use old school techniques, like book reports and dioramas to assess comprehension.

“Please be patient, this is the first year,” said Bishline.

The principal at Bailey Elementary told FOX23 they got out ahead of the changes last year. They stopped calling them AR books and instead, the students check out two books, a 'choice' book and a 'challenge' book.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

BloodSlinger - 9/6/2013 9:57 AM
0 Votes
Not sure what school that child goes to either. In leiu of the AR program my Owasso 4th grader was given a reading goal of 1 million words to read this year; I think she will be reading! Take away the TV game boxes and tablets and give them a book - novel idea! Stop placing the raising and education of our kids in the hands of the schools and take some parental responsibility.

sadieokie - 9/5/2013 11:31 PM
1 Vote
"News Flash" You don't need a "program" to make sure your kids are reading. PARENTS can require that their children read!! What a concept! How about make reading a priority in the home? Better still let your children see you reading and make a specific reading time for everyone.

factorfiction - 9/5/2013 1:13 PM
0 Votes
I wonder if Michelle Linn bothered to talk to the Teachers! Our kids most definitely read EVERY day. They have a 'passport' book they have stamped by the teacher for reading they complete. They also read in spare time- after recess, while in the bus line, etc. I suggest that Ms. Linn do a little research rather than reporting on what one little boy comments! This is very shabby reporting - and you wonder why intelligent people don't trust the 'news'! You'll never pass muster at this rate Michelle.
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