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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Book Challenge}

Can I get a WAHOO for those of you already enjoying your summer vacation?!? I am looking forward to summer soon and being able to spend more time relaxing (which includes reading and commenting on blogs!). I have so many things on my to-do list that I am itching to get started. There's just no time right yet!

It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
If you've never linked up with Tried It Tuesday, just link up any idea school or home related and what worked or didn't work. Simple! 
My Tried It:
Book Challenge
Two summers ago, I read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and it really had a profound effect on me and how I view independent reading in my classroom. The same summer I also read the Daily 5 and haven't looked back since.
Last year I blogged about my reading goals inspired by these books at the beginning of the year when setting up my classroom here. See one of my posts about Daily 5 here.

I wanted to revisit how my students have done with the number of books they have read this year. Here is a view of the "Book Challenge" display. As students read 10, 20, 30, 40...books, their name is added to the paper. I have seven students that have made it to 40 books (out of 45 students) and one that has made it to 50. To count as books "read" students take Accelerated Reader tests and must score at least 70% on them. I only count the books students have read independently (not novels we have read in class using Daily 5 methods of read to self and read to someone).

I would definitely do some things differently next year with my book challenge. When students reached different milestones, I gave them a certificate at 10, a prize from the owl bin at 20 and 30, and a candy or ice cream from the cafeteria of their choice at 40. I wasn't sure what to offer at 50 books but may give a homework pass. Although, the year is almost over, so I am stumped. I also give them Class Dojo points (one for 10, two for 20, etc.).  I need to make the rewards for reaching the different milestones more clear. I would also like to incorporate a # of words read challenge. A couple of my best readers have barely made 20 books because they are reading books that are 300-500 pages at at time.

I know I can improve some management at my end to hopefully get more students to meet the 40 book challenge. However, the 4th graders read up a storm overall and we haven't lost an Accelerated Reader challenge in two years when we compete against the 5th and 6th grades. Last year we had a larger class and, now that they are in 5th grade, I didn't think that we would win since we have 45 students and they have 62. Well, we killed it! Our grade had about 750 points and beat both the 5th and 6th grades by about 300!! I felt like I didn't even promote the contest in my classes either. The students are just always reading!! :) Something must be working!

Check out Fabulous in Fourth. She has a post about the Book Whisperer with a free handout for a 30 book challenge with genre guidelines.

Before you go, you have to check out my BBB's 1,000 Follower giveaway! Jess at I {Heart} Recess is hosting an amazing giveaway with loads of prizes!!
Tried It Tuesday Summer Schedule: This linkup will be open the rest of June but I will post a Facebook reminder each Tuesday to link-up or check out any new link ups. I will post a new link up the first Tuesday of July and keep that one open for the month too. Feel free to link up more than once during the month! August is up in the air right now. I will still be on vacation but many teachers will be starting back to school. Either way, I hope this linky gives you some new ideas of things to try (at school or home!).

Have a great week whether you are enjoying vacation or still plugging away at school! :)


  1. My last day with the students is June 4th - tomorrow! Then my last day as a teacher is Friday. I like the book challenge idea and should definitely read The Book Whisperer even though I teach middle school because my special ed kiddos need it! :)

  2. Woo Hoo! This is my first week of summer vacation! I love your posters for keeping track. When we visited the Intermediate School (where my 4th graders will go next year) - they all had posters on their doors where they kept track of AR points in similar increments to yours. I think I might implement this next year. I gave prizes for AR points and # words read this year. Our goal was to get to a million words (I had 3 students achieve it!). I used 100,000 increments for the words read for prizes.

  3. I love the idea of tracking the # of books and/or words read! I need to find something to motivate my kids next year. This year wasn't so great and I'm moving to 5th intervention reading next year. I am definitely going to be looking into it. Thanks for the idea! :)

    Simple Insights

  4. Your reading ideas sound great. Maybe I should try it with my kids over the summer! Thanks for hosting the linky--I was so excited to share my post today.
    ~Lucy at Kids Math Teacher

  5. Wahoo!!! Linking up from Mexico!! ;-)

  6. I like that you had different levels. I did a 30 book challenge and it was really "easy" for some kids but much more difficult for others to read that many books. We had a grand total of 19 out of our 100 something kids complete our challenge. I think maybe adding in a few more levels next year might up the participation and the "ante" so to speak!

    Keep us posted on your updates and changes! Thanks for hosting :)
    My Shoe String Life

  7. What a helpful post! I am planning my classroom library right now (first year teacher) and it seems like there are so many different ways of doing it. I just started reading The Book Whisperer, so I might be stealing some of your ideas as I figure out what works best for my class and style. I LOVE the idea of the Book Challenge. I will definitely be using that idea!

    Going Places in Fourth Grade

  8. Wop Hoo! I officially checked out on Monday and started summer this week! I read The Book Whisperer last summer, but never got around to figuring out how I wanted to present the challenge. That is a "must do" for me for next year. I like how you posted all the different milestones. I am pinning that for some inspiration. Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth