Encouraging Reading

I have noticed the circulation statistics of the book collection has dropped over the last couple of years. This concerns me. So one of my goals for this school year is to get more kids reading. I hope to help them learn how to find books that they love and for them to keep searching for titles that speak to them. It is hard these days to get a handle on what the students are actually reading. Some are reading, but not books found in the PFTSTA library. When I quiz the students, I discover that they are buying books, checking books out from the public library, downloading books onto their devices and even listening to audio books that they download from the public library. Yes, I know that students are reading, and I am happy that they are finding good books, but not all of the students are choosing to read for pleasure. Okay, I know that I will never win over 100% of the student body, and I know the older students feel inundated with reading for their AP courses, but I have decided that I at least need to try and instill the reading bug in as many of them as possible. Whether they check out books from me or find them in other places, well whatever works, I can be content with that.

Caught Reading in the library: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Last spring, I found librarian Tiffany Whitehead's post on running a reading challenge in her library. I thought that it sounded like a great idea, but I wasn't ready to put one in place at the time. I decided to start the new school year off with a fall reading challenge. I want to make it doable for a lot of the students. I really liked the challenges that could be tailored to each student so that I could run one challenge that would be suitable to both middle school and high school students and even staff members. You can see my challenge below.

The students have a little over five weeks to read five books. I do have a prize for all who finish the challenge. They will get one of the spirit sticks by Spirit Monkey declaring them a book-a-holic. When they complete the challenge, they will complete a google form with the titles and authors of the five books. I have told them that I am not giving a test or asking them to write about the books that they read. I am doing this on the honor system. I am not an English teacher, nor do I want to be. I don't even view texts in the same way that an English teacher does. I want the kids to read for enjoyment. Though some do find pleasure pulling a text apart to its core, and learning how to analyze texts is an important aspect of the Common Core State Standards, but we also need to read just for the sake of reading with no other purpose than loving the characters, getting swept up in the plot, or learning how to knit a scarf. I have an idea of how to spice up my winter challenge, but I will leave that to after the completion of this challenge. 

Caught Reading in the library: Artemis Fowl the Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
My goal is for 50 students out of the 450 in the school to read five books in five weeks. I will certainly let you know the outcome. Let the reading begin!!!


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