FARMINGTON -- Gone are the days of elementary students in Davis School District taking tests after each book they've read and tracking their Accelerated Reader -- or AR -- points.
Because the state contract for the AR program ended two months ago, most elementary schools in Davis district are dropping the program and looking at other ways to motivate students to read.
A few schools plan to continue the AR program at their own expense for another year while they decide how to move forward.
District officials acknowledge it was a good program but say it didn't work for everyone.
"AR was a great program for some kids, but it wasn't a one-size-fits-all program, because it didn't work for all kids," said Shauna Lund, community relations specialist.
Davis School District Assistant Curriculum Director Belinda Kuck said the district is turning the decision over to individual elementary schools, where their librarians and teachers are brainstorming to determine how to replace AR.
Kuck said research suggests if the reward for reading is anything other than reading itself, motivation actually decreases.
"We want our kids to learn that reading is not a painful chore or a check mark, but have them love to read for pleasure," she said.
"I wish I could say that AR did that, but in most of the students, I didn't see that. They were only reading for the party, or reading because it was something they had to do, not something they got to do."
Kuck said another thing lacking from the AR program was the opportunity for kids to talk about what they were reading.
"Kids got their books, read it, took a test, then turned a book in, but did they ever talk about it with anyone? When you talk about reading, you analyze at a higher level, evaluating the plot, analyzing characters and synthesizing what is happening in the book, which uses a higher level of thinking skills," she said.
"AR tested details that weren't critical to the story and maybe good readers wouldn't have paid attention to, which is frustrating to kids."
Many parents and teachers enjoyed the program, though, because it was easy to monitor where kids were with their reading and teachers didn't have to worry about creating tests.
"When it was executed correctly, is was a great assessment tool to measure outside reading and navigate (students) to books where they would progress," said Heritage Elementary Librarian Mary Ann Hansen.
However, she did say the AR program restricted students to a color-coded reading level.
"In some ways, that discouraged readers, because they would find a book they wanted to read, but then find out it wasn't in their reading level."
Hansen said the teachers at her school are struggling to find something to replace the AR program, and one of their biggest concerns is getting students motivated to read.
In visiting with several librarians over the past few weeks, Kuck said, it is clear that schools are going back to the basics with book reports, reading journals, requiring students to read a certain number of books each term, and simple activities to keep track of which books kids are reading and how many pages they read a day.
At Heritage Elementary, Hansen said they are planning to give kids extra incentives to read, such as bookmarks or getting to pick out an extra book from the library.
"We would also like to have the kids read and then share with us what they liked about it," she said.
"With or without AR, we can still find our little friends who are struggling and match them with something that will ignite a love of literature and reading."