For many local elementary and middle school students, the 2016-17 school year started with an exciting personal reading challenge: to read 40 books, from across a variety of genres, by the end of the school year!
While 40 books might seem like a lofty goal, if these readers are anything like the ones the Library District saw during the Summer Reading Challenge, we’re certain they’ll reach it.
Let’s take a quick look at the 40 Book Challenge and how the Poudre River Public Library District can support your reader.
What is the 40 Book Challenge?
The idea for the reading challenge comes from The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller, an educator who advocates for students’ personal choice in reading and in establishing independent reading programs in the classroom.
Her challenge, or rather “invitation,” to her students is to set a personal reading goal (the number of books) and to expand the types of genres they read. No matter how far behind in reading Miller’s 6th grade students may have been at the beginning of the challenge, they end up reading an average of 40 books per year, score well on reading tests, and foster a personal love of reading that lasts well after the challenge is complete.
The goal of the 40 Book Challenge is not only to get kids reading more and improve their reading skills, but also to build a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.
Local teachers, literacy specialists, and book lovers have taken Miller’s challenge and customized it for their students and classrooms. Some classrooms have designed additional activities for the challenge like reading journals or book talks, but many also stick to the basics.
Is your student participating in the 40 Book Challenge? If so, then you know the basics, but if not, here are the general details to set up the challenge for your own family.
- Set a personal reading goal (typically 10-20-30-40 books)
- Choose your own books.
- Keep track of each book you read in a reading log.
- Read widely from a variety of genres like historical fiction, graphic novels, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, poetry, literature, biography/memoir, and others.
The spirit of the challenge is not a competition but to expand students’ reading lives. There aren’t winners or losers. Besides, isn’t everyone who reads a winner?
How Can the Library Help?
This personal reading challenge fosters reading independence and strengthens our reading community. Your public library is ready to support your reader in reaching his/her goals. Whether you check out a print book or choose to download an eBook, swing by the library for your 40 Book Challenge.
1. Librarians know books
Want to know about great books? Want to get book recommendations? Your librarians are the perfect place to start. Not only can they tell you about the latest titles and authors, but they can even offer recommendations based on your personal interests, by genre, and even based on books you’ve previously read and enjoyed.
2. Book lists galore
The Library District website is filled with great book lists to get you started locating that new book. From Newberry award winners to sports fiction, we’ve got a book list for you.
Kids lists range from genres like animal fantasy to realistic fiction. There are even lists of books that offer read-alikes to books such as Coraline and Land of Stories.
The teen book lists are sorted by genre as well as fun topics like “Those Societal Blues” and “Books that Won’t Make you Blush.”
3. Books by grade or reading level
The library staff can show you how to find books based on a particular grade level or reading level. Or you can use our online catalog and website to search on your own.
Learn more about using reading levels to search for books in this blog post, “Lexile & Accelerated Reader Information Now in Catalog.”
4. Genre land
Want a cool tool to find books in a particular genre? Check out NoveList Plus.
This eResource lets you browse books based on the genre and based on the reader’s age. It’s an easy-to-use online resource that anyone can access from home or at the library.
5. Other library resources
Teens who are interested in books might like to join the Teen IRS: Interesting Reader Society, a group of young adults in grades 6-12 who meet monthly to talk mainly about books, but also about movies, music, and other topics of interest to teens.
As readers take on the 40 Book Challenge, they stretch their reading choices, and ultimately strengthen their reading skills through their diverse reading experiences. Research continues to demonstrate the power of personal choice in reading and the amount of time spent reading as key indicators of reading success. Let’s get reading!
How will your family participate in the 40 Book Challenge? Happy reading!