Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: 30 Book Challenge

It's Saturday, which means I'm focused on helping keep my students motivated! Today, I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching to share how I keep my students reading between book clubs. Reading during book clubs isn't really a choice in my room. We get excited about the genre and the authors and then students need to read at least two books from my picks before they are "done" and able to move on. But of course, they are always welcome to read more...

But what happens after students "finish" a book club study? That's where the 30 Book Challenge comes into play! I was inspired by a Pin I saw on a Pinterest from Runde's Room's Teachers Pay Teachers store. I thought, This looks like something my fifth graders would LOVE... so, why not give it a try! My fifth graders love a good competition, only (shhhh!) this competition is with themselves. I found this great recording sheet online Google Docs. Click the image to get you copy!

Students each get a set of the "rules" at the beginning of the year for the challenge. All books read during our class read aloud do not count. These should be books students are reading independently. We put our chart in our data sections of our binders and then it's teacher hands off. The rest is up to the students. There is a special reward at the end of the year for those that complete my challenge! Last year our prize pack include a free personal LaRosa's pizza, Culver's ice cream, a popsicle during class, bonus raffle tickets for our end of the year raffle, and  personalized bookmarks. I was able to get all the certificates donated through student reward programs by various restaurants so the prizes cost me ZERO dollars, except for the freeze pops ;)
This challenge really seems to motivate many students to keep reading even when they have "finished" our in class reading work. It also gets my "fiction junkies" into some nonfiction information texts and biographies. Plus, there are still 8 free choice squares... Who doesn't want some choice?
Our school also has a huge annual fundraising and reading competition each year. It's kick off is a video of principals, teachers, and other students reading and getting excited ABOUT reading! This year even author Cynthia Lord even joined our video! We just wrapped up this year's Recording Breaking Reading Challenge. Our goal as a school was to read 1,000,000 minutes! Students could use any books finished during our school wide campaign for my 30 Book Challenge!  The week end in a victory cheer as we exceeded our goal of hitting 1,000,000 minutes! That means teachers and principals will be racing in front of students next Friday for the ultimate bragging rights!

The best part, most of the work is hands off from my end - students only need to record evidence they read by stopping and jotting about the books on their weekly reading log and recording the books in the "Books I Read in 5th Grade Chart" in the data sections of their binders for books to count. You can grab my In School and Out of School Reading Log for free by clicking the image below.

How to do you keep reading motivation alive?


  1. This is so awesome!! I love how the tracker incorporates the different genres. I also don't let the students count the books read together for their independent reading goals. You have me thinking about how I can incorporate this into my year for a new challenge. Some students are already motivated by my "number of books read" display and reading goals for AR points each quarter but I need to incorporate the other genres!! This was so helpful! Thank you!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  2. I agree with Holly, I want to make sure my students are reading all genres-this holds them more accountable. I love the 30 book challenge and that your entire school is involved! Very motivating for everyone! Do you interview your students about their books after they've read or is it just an honor system? Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. Love this! Do you still have the log available? I would love to see how you incorporated stop and jots onto it!

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  6. Students could use any books finished during our school wide campaign for my Book Challenge. From these books they will learn to write motivation letter for college if necessary. There is a special reward at the end of the year for those that complete challenge



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