Bad Labeling/Friday Fiction: The Grape Thief


The Grape Thief

Submitter: Let’s hear it for more bad label placement.  I really hate Accelerated Reader.  This just helps with the pile on.  I noticed the book displayed on an open shelf.  I’m really surprised no one caught this before.

Holly: In a school library, too.  I bet the kids just looove this.  One more letter and you’d have had “Ape Thief”…which would have been preferable.



  1. Ugh, AR. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen kids and their parents reject wonderful books because they “weren’t the right level” or “not on the list”….

  2. AR needs to die. No wonder kids hate reading, stuck with that mishegoss. One girl, who already thought she didn’t like reading, was reduced to tears trying to find a book she wanted to read that was at the “right” level… and we’re talking 4.2 vs. 4.5, with the books all in the same series.

  3. My boss yesterday was complaining because his school won’t let him read To Kill A Mockingbird because he tested above the reading level it’s at. She thought it was ridiculous that he was being denied to read a book because they thought he was “too smart” for it.

  4. UG! I meant “My boss served a woman yesterday who was complaining….”

    Sorry, I really shouldn’t be on the computer right now as I have a horrible headache.

  5. moklspa, anything that lends itself that easily to “misuse” is designed to be misused, and doesn’t belong in schools. Or anywhere else.

  6. We can design a system proof against accidents, but not deliberate malice; anything can be “easily misused”.

  7. Katie: It’s a program used in many schools to encourage students to read. The AR books have point values assigned to them and the students take tests to earn those points. Get enough points and the students can get a prize. I was in the third grade when they started this program.

  8. Gak! I hadn’t heard of Accelerated Reader before, but I’m *very* glad it didn’t exist when I was a child.

    I hate to think how some idiot or imbecile (fully intending on the arcane or former definitions) school un-librarian or education administrator could misuse it to restrict curious student’s access to material, or even monitor their reading (let’s predict aggressive behaviour).

    Now that I think about it, I think it was while I was in Grade Two (about age 7) when the class was taught on how to assess a book for reading level.

    So I’m surprised that such a program is really at all helpful for the students. It might be of some value to help students with reading disabilities or delayed reading levels find suitable material, but otherwise in my own experience, children finding _interesting_ material at a nominally appropriate level – which you can easily gauge by the book’s presentation, will trump any _a priori_ evaluation system every time.

  9. I used to read books above my grade level at times. Though a lot of the books I read weren’t AR books. And I saw this book with a diffrent title at a chain discount store. The new title was Cuss.

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