Reading Plus is an online reading program designed to improve students’ abilities to read faster, comprehend better, and learn new vocabulary. To most students, the program is boring and not very effective at improving reading skills. Others find it useless, since they already know how to read proficiently and are still forced to complete it. If a student feels like he or she is not improving, the question of whether doing Reading Plus is worth the time put into it or not will arise.
Reading Plus has tedious reading exercises that must be completed every week – or else students receive unsatisfactory grades from their teacher. The length of the required assignments is determined by each student’s reading level. This means that for many students, Reading Plus takes a little more than an hour a week to complete, while for others it takes multiple hours. Students who have longer assignments end up losing time to complete other homework or study for important tests.
Another major flaw in this reading program is that most of the stories students read are not very relatable, making them uninteresting to students. The stories are recycled year after year, which leads to students who stayed in the same reading level having to read the same stories again and again. To make things even worse, students that have read all of the available stories but have not yet advanced to the next level must reread the same stories until they advance.
According to an independent study conducted by Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) in the 2010-2011 school year, Reading Plus has significantly increased the reading ability of their students. Since then, the program has been implemented as a required home learning assignment for all Language Arts classes. Since the study proved that Reading Plus does increase most students’ reading abilities, teachers favor the program and believe it does wonders for their students.
“I really think [Reading Plus] is good because it helps with students’ reading speed for the AP English Language exam,” English teacher Mrs. Vazquezbello said.
Because the program is disliked by most students, sophomore Mark Braun created a petition to remove Reading Plus as a required home learning assignment. The fact that students go to such extreme lengths to end the use of Reading Plus shows how disliked the program is.
“I think Reading Plus is not helpful at all, and I don’t feel like I am improving [. . .] Also, when I read really fast it strains my eyes and gives me headaches,” Braun said.
The strict enforcement of this program causes students to develop negative associations with it. There are multiple ways to improve the program that would make students more interested and willing to complete their reading assignments. Until those improvements are made, students will have to try hard not to get distracted or fall asleep while doing their required Reading Plus homework.