Sunday, 9 February 2014

40 Book Challenge

Since becoming a teacher I've tried to share my passion for reading but have still found it difficult to help less motivated readers so this year decided that I would adopt Donalyn Miller's 40 Book Challenge.

When the children entered the classroom on the first day I was ready for them, I'd purchased more books, selected my National Library Books and had given great thought to what type of books some of the less motivated readers would like. On day 1 I let them have some SSR time and ensured that everyone was reading, I helped a couple of the kids choose something as they clearly weren't too interested until they saw the Commando comics! I had a poster promoting the 40 book challenge as part of a wall display however I didn't refer to it in the first couple of days.

On Wednesday, we sat down for 10 minutes to talk about the challenge, the look on their faces was priceless and quickly followed by quintessential child responses: "Can we read short books?", " Can we read books from home?" and "Can we choose the books?". They were quite surprised by my responses, I was prepared for these questions as Miller suggested these were amongst the things top of mind for children. "Of course you can read short books, I choose short books to read sometimes too...". I knew we'd need some way to monitor our progress, so I introduced the 40 Book book to them, each of the children have a notebook to record the books they start, genre, rating and a few thoughts - I'm not interested in long written responses as it is reading we're meant to be promoting here.

On Friday we sat down to quickly run through the types of books and genres we're going to try and read. They were abuzz especially when seeing the covers they knew and loved, I started to get the feel that this might work. Afterwards, I handed out the 40 Book books and they busily started filling in their first titles and discussing what genre these titles fit into.

I'm reading Oceans at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman right now, 40 books might be tough for a busy teacher but I can hardly expect them to do something I'm not prepared to do myself!

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