Reading Challenges

Reading challenges can be a great way to motivate students to read more during the school year.  Here are a few ideas for personal reading challenges for students.  These could all be expanded to be Class Wide Challenges.  Bookopolis is an easy tool to track the number of books read and pages or minutes read by student or for your whole class.

Have you had success with other types of challenges? Add a comment and share!

Personal Reading Challenges

1. 40 Book Challenge

Challenge every student to read 40 books across multiple genres.  This challenge was made popular by the Book Whisperer.  Here’s one suggestion for how many books to read for each genre.

Variation: Number of books and genre requirement can differ based on grade level and learning goals of the class.

How to manage it: Use Bookopolis to track books read per student in a given time period.

2. 1,000 Minutes a Month Challenge

Challenge each student to read 1,000 minutes each month during the school year.  Teach them to read “between the cracks” by finding minutes during their busy day to fit in reading (waiting for a sibling at soccer practice, in the car on the way to school, in line at the grocery store, waiting for the morning bell to ring.)

Variation: Number of minutes can be varied based on grade level.  The challenge can be for in class reading or at home reading, or a combination of both.

How to manage it: Use Reading Log feature in Bookopolis to track minutes read per day or in a given time period

3. Read Outside Your Comfort Zone

Challenge students to find 3 new books from genres that they don’t normally read (e.g. Informational, Poetry, etc.)  This is a great way to get the Harry Potter loving reader to dabble in other areas.  Encourage students who love one genre to share their favorite books with other students who are new to that genre.

4. Nonfiction Challenge

To support the Common Core emphasis on informational texts, challenge students to read at least two nonfiction (informational, biography, autobiography, etc.) books each month.  Have students do book commercials or book reviews with the class to share peer recommended books with other students.

Rewards for Challenges

The goal is to build intrinsic motivation so teachers walk a fine line in providing incentives versus over rewarding students for accomplishing challenges.  Research has shown that rewards work best that are related to reading and underscore to the student that books are fun.  Here are some ideas for modest incentives when a student completes a personal reading challenge.

1. Extra time for independent reading in class

2. Special “book talk” date before/after school or during lunchtime with school librarian or teacher

3. Field trip to local bookstore with teacher or librarian to talk with kidlit book specialists

4. Get their name highlighted in a school newspaper or on a school wide broadcast

5. Partner with local bookstore to offer a free book to challenge finishers

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