Friday, June 7, 2013

End of Year Wrap-Up

Another school year has come and gone.  This was my first year back full-time since having my daughter (who will be four in August).  I job-shared for three years with the talented Holly Mueller.  You can check out her blog at  In this first year back, I was really able to dig deep and know more about my students and their reading lives.  I started the year by presenting my version of Donalyn Miller's 40 Book Challenge.  I called it the 40 Book Invitation and invited my students to attempt to read 40 books this school year.  I had a wide range of readers, from gifted to emerging.  However, over half of the kids in each class (I teach two LA classes) read 40 books or more.  A significant amount read 30-39 books.  How very exciting!  It was almost unanimous that students read more this year than any other year.  Plus, we all made summer reading lists and talked excessively about summer reading the last few days of school.  And that, my friends, is what teaching reading is all about--a little motivation, mixed with some enthusiasm, and a dash of challenge.  These kids rocked!  (And, I'll really miss getting and giving recommendations from them over the summer!)

Each class read over 1000 books!  AMAZING!!

So, I can't figure out how to rotate this on the blog.  Turn your monitor sideways for a second...

I invite you to entertain the thought of challenging your readers in the upcoming school year.  Do it by page numbers or books, but do it!  Expect them to live a reading life.  They'll surprise you with the their enthusiasm, desire, and results.  Go read books this summer so you can become a "book whisperer" too!  


  1. Megan, just wondering..I'm a total Book Whisperer follower and want to do the 40 book challenge with my sixth graders this year. Donalyn has her challenge set up with books/ you do that? I'm totally for the idea of getting kids to read outside of their comfort zone, but also don't want to discourage reading either if I "require" a genre they don't particularly like. Would love to hear how you do it..


  2. Thanks for stopping by, Deb! I do use the 40 book challenge idea. One of my colleagues made a great chart that I give the kids the first week of school. It breaks down book genres. I encourage kids to read three books from each genre over the course of the year. Then, they still have 15 or 16 slots left to get up to 40 books that can be any genre of their choosing. This way, students can choose when to read what genre (with a little guidance from me) and still be able to read things they like. I've used this method for the last three or four years and it's worked great!

    Stay tuned on Twitter, The Nerdy Book Club, and Choice Literacy. I'm writing some things with a colleague about literacy contracts that we use each month in our classrooms to get kids to read outside their genre comfort zone. More to come on that soon! :) Hope that helps you a little. Best of luck in the upcoming school year!