30 Book Challenge Update

4 01 2011

Many of you have asked about the 30 book challenge and how it has been working. I have to say that even I am surprised at how much my students are reading!!! I have had a lot of people ask how and why I think the 30 book challenge has been such a success. Here are my thoughts and ideas, now that we are about 15 weeks into the process:

  • The number one reason I believe it works is because I READ and know A LOT of books! I am able to recommend many books to all different types of students and readers. Once they have found a few books that they like, they gain so much confidence in their reading and they see that they actually like to read. I firmly believe that there is a book out there for everyone. People who say they don’t like to read, just haven’t found the right book! :)It is amazing that I haven’t assigned points to the number of books they are reading, and they keep reading!! The way they get points is each week we blog about the books that they are reading, and the content on their posts is where they get their points. If you want to get kids to read- forget about reading more professional books about how to get kids to read- read yourself, get lots of good books in your room or school library, and talk A LOT about books! Recommend them to the class, groups of students, individual kids and the kids will see that you know what you are talking about! Every morning, as I stand at my door every period I have at least one student stop and talk about a book that they are reading. Sharing that experience  is such a powerful experience for them as a reader!
  • I check how many books each student has read about every 3 weeks and mark down on a chart how many books they have read. This lets me know who I need to check on and encourage to read, and who I need to offer some books suggestions to.
  • I have found that my kids LOVE recommending books to each other. On the back of their 30 book challenge sheet I have a Books I plan to read list that they can write books that sound to good to them. This helps them to easily pick their next book.
  • I also have the students check each other’s blogs and write down books that sound good.
  • At the beginning of the year, I made sure to plan 15 min. for silent reading time. This enabled my students to get into their books and to see that everyone is reading and that I value reading. I also read with them. We got to the library every other week and I block that time off for silent reading only. We have a little reading corner in our library and I give them about 5 min. to get settled, and then I go over and read on the floor with them. I don’t have to tell them to get reading, stop talking or anything else. They see that I am reading and realize that this is not time to ask questions  or goof off, but to relax and enjoy reading! The kids love it! They beg for it on the weeks we don’t have library time!  🙂

If you can’t tell I am really passionate about getting my kids to read and find books they enjoy. This post is getting far too long- so I will post again on the rest of my 30 book challenge ideas!

Let me know if you have done something like this and what has worked for you!


This Book Was So…

12 09 2010

Well my kids are reading up a storm since the 30 day challenge began! I wanted to create a place for them to recommend books that they loved to their classmates. I created a bulletin board with various “envelopes” with different genres listed on the outside of them. When they students have read a book they want to recommend, they take a note card and write the book title,  author and a few lines about  why they recommend it. They then place it in the genre envelope that corresponds to the genre of the book they read. I then have a large basket next to the bulletin board so that the students can place the book in the basket for others to look at and possibly check out.

Here is a picture of the bulletin board:

Students Sharing Books (The reading continues!)

25 01 2010

Kids listen to kids, and are very influenced by each other. With that in mind I have two ways to get kids excited about reading, talking about book they have read, and sharing books that they like!  I find that so many times my students say they don’t like reading, but in fact they really just don’t know good books for them (and I believe that there is a book for everyone!)

After my students have read an independent book, there are a few ways that I have them share the books that they read with each other.  One is a Book Bistro. In a book Bistro, I put a 2-3 desks together into little groups. I then have the students sit around in small groups and  talk about their book. I always have them take the book they just finished reading so that others can see it, and look through it. I also have them take their books to read list, so that they can add interesting books to their “to read” list.

Another way I have students share is Book Dating. This is like speed dating, except with books and kids! The goal is to match up a kid to the right book. I place the desks in twos in a circular shape.  I have my students  bring the book they just read. I give each person 2 minutes to talk about their book, when I ring the  bell, one student  stays at the table and the other person moves around to the next person and the talking and sharing continues.

I find that the students really listen to each other and they want to read what their peers have read- so the reading continues- even without it being assigned!

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