I love to read. Always have. I remember bringing a book with me everywhere I went when I was a kid. Of course, I don't seem to have as much time now that I'm an adult swamped with responsibilities, but I still make time to read for pleasure mostly every day. For the past couple of years, I have taken on the 50 Book Challenge, which is a group of people across the world whose goal it is to read 50 books within the year. Of course, you can set your own individual goals as well (read more non-fiction, only read books that are more than 200 pages, etc). For me, I don't include books I read to or with my students in my personal 50 Book Challenge. Nor do I include short books (under 100 pages) or rereads (I don't do much rereading anyway - I like new reading material!). However, I do include professional reading, as I do read many books related to teaching. As of today, I am on book #36, and I have no doubt that I will achieve my 50 book goal by the end of the 2011.
Now, on to the 40 Book Challenge, which I am planning to introduce to my students next week: The goal of the 40 Book Challenge for young readers is to get students to leave their reading comfort zone and explore new reading genres. Ultimately, I would love to see my students' love of reading flourish, as well as for students to make big academic gains in reading. Let's face it, the best way to become a better reader is to read VORACIOUSLY. And the 40 Book Challenge helps with this!
Although 40 books sounds like a lot, students will only have to average one book a week. This can be accomplished by reading during our independent reading time at school and spending at least 30 minutes reading daily at home. Some books, like shorter non-fiction books, can be read possibly in a day or two. Some books will obviously take longer to finish. By making the right books choices, I am confident that all students will be able to achieve the goal of reading 40 "just right" books in third grade this year.
We will be keeping track of our books on a display in our classroom. Every time a student starts a new book, he or she will record the date, title, and genre on an index card and attach the index card onto their colored paper. Once the student completes the book, he or she will write the date finished on the index card, take it off the display, and add the index card to a little O Ring, which will be hanging on hooks in the classroom.
Here's where things get a little more interesting: in order to expand my students' reading worlds, I will be expecting them to read a variety of genres, specifically 5 realistic fiction books, 5 informational books, 5 fantasies, 5 mysteries, 4 biographies or autobiographies, 2 historical fiction books, 2 science fiction books, 2 poetry books, and then 10 books of their choice. I will be doing a lot of book talks this year in order to expose my students to new books and genres, so that they can then check out the ones that pique their interest.
Books must be on students' "just right" reading levels in order to qualify, and books over 300 pages will count as two books from that particular genre. Students must have their independent reading books at school every day. We go to the media center to check out books every two weeks, and my classroom library is chock-full of great books available for check out, too:
I can't wait to begin this challenge with my students! Now, get ready...get set...READ!!!