Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Love a Great Challenge!

I almost always know what my students are reading. Either they are checking out books from the school's library, my domain, or they're reading books from their classroom libraries. I still know what they are reading. My darlings talk to me about their books! I hear all about the good ones, the bad ones, and the so-so ones. (I can always cheat and look at their Accelerated Reader records.)  I really know what my students are reading. Most teachers and librarians do. It doesn't require super powers. But, do my students know what I'm reading? I feel it's very important for my students to see adults read, especially their teachers. We are all the time asking our students to read and there are some students who believe it's just to keep them quiet (as if that would work...)!

To balance out that reading equation, I've implemented a couple new strategies to promote school-wide reading. The first strategy I'm trying in the library is my currently reading sign. (Click here to read that post.) My teachers are also encouraged to do something similar in their classrooms.

The second strategy came in the form of a reading challenge. The very first day of school I was discussing new books with my 5th graders. I read about 150 books over the summer break. Of course someone asked if I had read every book in the library. No, I haven't. I read one Goosebumps..... Why read another? My brain can only handle so much garbage! Then one of my darlings wanted to know just how many books I've read. I replied honestly, "I don't know." Do you know how hard it is for a librarian to admit not knowing something? AWWW.... Then, "How many books do you read in a year?" Gees! This little big question brought on a challenge. My fifth graders challenged me  to read 300 books during this school year. (They wanted me to read 500 books, but I reminded them I do have a life outside school books. I really do:) Oh course there were rules. I can not count books I've read before August 1, 2013 or any book I read out loud to any of my classes. I do get to read a mix of books. They don't all have to be chapter books. I can count new picture books and non-fiction books that I purchase for the library. Yes, I'm counting any book I read for personal pleasure as long as it's the first time read. I can only count Agatha Christie's if I find one I've not read before. There are a couple out of print I don't own....

In honor of the challenge, I wanted to create a visual for the library. Every year there are various non-profits that post their fund raising goals all over town. My first thought was to create a large poster I could color or add stickers to, but that idea didn't mesh with my library d├ęcor. Earlier this summer I had purchased some cute reading clipart from Srappin' Doodles. Time to put it to use! Thus, my School Reading Chart was born.


I tried to get it finished before the great BTS sale, but I wanted to test it first. If you are interested, it's here in my TPT store. I added a few books to demonstrate in the pictures. No, I'm not already up to 120 books. I need a little sleep. Otherwise my boys insist I'm cranky!

What crazy things do you do to get your students to read?

Keep Reading! I will.....


  1. I love this idea! I might have to give myself a challenge. Otherwise, I end up watching too much TV.

    Simply Sixth Grade

  2. Love it. When I first had a student ask me about a book I had on my "Currently Reading" sign I was so excited. Someone is paying attention! Then when a teacher asked. SUCCESS! WOO HOO!
    Only both of those first times (luckily not ALL the times ;)) they were books that we didn't have in our school collection. But hey. Plug for the public library and Amazon. Which I feel guilty saying because hello, kill the little man store. All the little man stores are already gone from our neck of the woods. :/
    But back to your post ... I love your idea!

  3. Thanks! I'll keep everyone posted on my progress/success. I refuse to have a failure even if I have to lose sleep over spring break!

  4. So cute! Love the visual for your kids--reminds me of all of those "thermometer's" that non-profits use when collecting money, etc. What a wonderful visual! I always have a hard time sharing some of my personal reads with my kids...50 Shades? HA! I'm not writing that on my book sign. I don't want them to think that I'm not reading though--maybe I should just put a book that I have already read up so they think that I am reading it for the first time. I hate to lie, but some of mine are definitely not school appropriate. HA!

    1. If it's a book I don't want to discuss, I just don't post the title. I usually spend a little extra time on the weekends reading so it's not a surprise for the kids to see my numbers jump on Monday morning. If I have a "sheik or Viking moment", the kids don't see those! Ha


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