For the 2018-2019 school year, what was previously known as AR has been taken away for all upper school students. Instead, Calvary has implemented a new system called “Book Club,” which requires students to read a book of their choice each quarter and do a project on the book they read.
Book Club was first discussed by administration two years ago when the English department, along with Mrs. Brunn, realized Calvary needed a change and venture away from AR because it was not meeting the expectation of Calvary’s reading program. They started the process by talking about new ideas that would impact students and came up with the idea of Book Club.
The idea behind Book Club allows students to have a choice in what they read. In past years past, students had to choose a book based on their English course and take a quiz on that book. Each book was worth a certain amount of points and each grade level has a designated amount of points for students to earn to receive a full grade. However, Book Club allows students to express their own perspectives and cultivate a love of reading.
“We were not accomplishing the goals we were hoping to accomplish with AR because AR was not moving in the direction we wanted to,” Director of Media Services Tonja Brunn said. “It became where students had the ability to cheat and be dishonest, where Book Club is meant to be more of an experience.”
Since Book Club has not been completed yet, the English department is unsure of how the new system will work. Most students have formed their opinions regarding Book Club based on their workload over the summer. Once AR was removed, some students felt that they would rather have AR instead of the new system.
“I would go back to AR because it would give me more time to do homework if I didn't have the book and the project hanging over my head,” senior Andrew Wilkins said.
The problem most students faced was figuring out how to balance their summer reading and work while simultaneously enjoying their break from school. For each student, summer work varied depending on which English class they were taking. All upper school students were required to read a book of their choice and complete a literary analysis data sheet on that book over the summer along with other work they may have been given.
“I gave myself a goal of ‘I finish this much, now I get to do this’ so it motivated me to finish,” sophomore Kalee Ortiz said.
Book Club is designed to help students enjoy reading by giving them the privilege of free choice. Students will be allowed to do a variety of projects on a book of their choice ranging from presentations to art pieces.
“I do think it is more beneficial than AR because with AR people would just read a quick, easy book just to get their points and be done,” freshman Ansley Faircloth said.
Unlike the requirement of AR for all classes, Book Club will not be mandatory for AP English classes because of their heavy workload. Pre-AP English classes will be allowed to read a book of their choice for two quarters, one quarter of an AP book, and for one quarter will be required to read an AP book for their seminar. This will allow Pre-Ap students to experience the normal limits of book club while still reading AP books throughout the year.
“I believe that Book Club is an opportunity for more students to start participating in reading,” Brunn said.
As Book Club continues, the hope is for students to think creatively and use their unique skills to help them succeed in their assignment. Faculty is excited to see what Book Club has in store and thinks that it will be a beneficial change to Calvary students.
Photo by Justin Roberts