Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Book Challenge- The Snowball Effect!

"The Book Challenge" that I wrote about earlier has snowballed into something bigger and even better!

Here's the link to my previous post, "The Book Challenge":

It started off with a book talk in the library about the new Sequoyah Children's Book Award nominees. Students were excited about the titles nominated for 2015 and I casually mentioned that I would love to read them all because they all sounded great. One student popped up with, "Me too".  I responded with "It's on!".  So, from there, more students wanted to take the challenge and read all the nominated books.  

A fourth grade reading teacher suggested we collaborate and come up with a reading challenge with incentives.  We came up with a grand idea!  If students read three of the nominated books, they could vote for their favorite book in February when voting for the award takes place.  If students read seven books, they could vote for their favorite book and participate in a kick ball tournament with the principal and their teachers.  Finally, if they read all 15 nominated books, they get to do the above mentioned incentives and participate in an after school party with pizza and minute-to-win-it games. Sounds fun, right?  

Well, the only problem was that we didn't have enough books for all the students who wanted to participate. We had this momentum built up, excited students ready for the challenge, but not enough books to go around.  We suggested students go to the public library, get copies on their e-readers, or purchase books at online book stores.  Still, we knew some students needed immediate access to these books to be successful.

So, we decided to create Donors Choose grants to fund this challenge.  We both asked for multiple copies of each title so more kids could read these great books.  I felt a little like Kevin Costner in the movie "A Field of Dreams". If you build it, they will come.  

We both filled out the Donors Choose grant applications and hoped for the best.  (By the way, if you haven't ever created a Donors Choose project, it's really easy!)  Luckily, both of our grants were funded within a week!  I've already started receiving boxes of books from Amazon.  My students are so excited about this reading challenge.  Now, we have plenty of books to share.

For the Donors Choose grant, my students will write thank you notes to all of our donors and I will post pictures of them enjoying their new books on the Donors Choose website. 

In order to qualify for the Book Challenge incentives, students must not only read the books, but write it on their reading logs and write a short reading response (see example below).

We created colorful bookmarks so students can keep track of the books they have read.

This has turned out to be a great challenge for my students and they are loving reading all of these great books!


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