Why are there AR quizzes for books with adult content?

By Chris Jarosh

We provide quizzes on a wide range of books for all genres and levels. Some of these books are suitable for very young children who are just beginning to read independently, while others are suitable for those on the cusp of adulthood. Not every book will be suitable for every reader.

Our title selection criteria are similar to those of schools and libraries. We quiz books according to demand, indicated particularly through requests from customers but also taking into account awards lists and other factors. We are guided by the popularity of books; the books we quiz are representative of the books being read by students using Accelerated Reader.

We are aware that some teachers and librarians would prefer not to have quizzes available on books containing adult themes and strong language. However, we are committed to providing quizzes based on demand rather than restricting them. Providing a quiz does not indicate that we endorse or condone the content.

Teachers and librarians know which books are suitable for their students, just as parents know which books are appropriate for their children. If a book is unsuitable for a student, parents need not buy it for them and librarians need not lend it to them. However, we will not censor books because they will not be appropriate for some students: for as long as they are appropriate for some students, we believe an AR quiz should be available to them. To prevent students from taking quizzes on books you feel are inappropriate, AR has a function allowing you to deactivate quizzes that you feel should not appear on your site (see below for instructions on how to do this).

How do you handle mature content?

Strong language: We do not use strong language in a quiz even if it is present in the book being quizzed.

Adult themes: Where adult themes are key parts of the plot of a book, you can expect us to ask questions pertaining to those themes. This is never gratuitous; it simply reflects the purpose of a reading practice quiz in representing the major events of a book.

How can I tell if a book has adult material in it?

Every book quizzed for AR is given an Interest Level. Interest Levels are indications of the rough age range to whom the book will appeal and will be appropriate. This is subjective and is always to be taken in conjunction with your professional judgment. In general terms, though, it is likely that novels marked Upper Years (14+) will be unsuitable for younger readers due to the nature of the content.

More specifically, we use the book summary to alert teachers and librarians to any potentially objectionable content in a book. A summary for every book can be found on AR BookFinder and AR BookGuide. We mention strong language and any topics or themes that might invite caution, like substance abuse and sexual situations.

How can I deactivate quizzes so students cannot take them?

It is possible to deactivate specific quizzes on your Renaissance Place site. They can be reactivated at any time. To do this, visit your RP site and navigate to the AR section. Select Manage Quiz Availability, and search for the title or titles you wish to deactivate. Select, and click Deactivate. Within this section of the site, you can also bring up a record of deactivated or activated quizzes.

Checklist for selecting appropriate books

Considering these factors, along with a professional knowledge of your book stock and students’ interests, you can ensure that students read books that they will enjoy and that are appropriate for them.

  • Is the Book Level in the student’s Zone of Proximal Development?
  • Does the Interest Level correspond with the student’s age?
  • Are there any additional warnings about the content that I feel would make the book unsuitable for this student?

Posted on 22 June 2016 at 1:40 pm
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