We are excited to tell you about an initiative called the Roos Read Book Challenge. Students in grades K-12 are encouraged to participate in this challenge throughout the remainder of the school year. Unlike many other reading activities your child may have done, this challenge is designed for the sole purpose of helping students learn to LOVE reading.
The challenge, based on a professional resource some of our teachers have read, titled The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, encourages students to select books they like, develop preferences in genre, and find authors to whom they relate. Miller states that the single most effective way to help boost our students’ reading, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension skills is the simple act of reading. After all, how do we get better at any activity in life? By practicing it! In classrooms where this type of book challenge has been in place, students report that their confidence, passion, and enjoyment of reading were ALL improved by reading vast numbers of books (see video above in which the challenge was used with a class of seniors). Additionally, a nice side benefit of all this reading is that students perform significantly better on standardized assessments of reading skills!
Students are given only guidelines based on genres to explore and some basic page parameters based on the grade level of the student. As part of this challenge, there are no nightly reading minutes, no reports to write, no tests to take to prove they’ve read a book. Instead, students will find things THEY love to read about, share these titles with their peers in class, record titles on their logs, and continue to expand their reading horizons. Teachers, paired with our campus librarians, will work together to provide a wide variety of print and electronic texts from which students may choose. Teachers may provide some time in class for students to do their reading, but much of the reading will be completed outside of the school day.
As students build their reading “muscles,” creating time for reading and selecting books to read next will become easier and easier. In classrooms where this practice has existed for years, the culture becomes one in which it is “cool” to be reading and adults often must ask students to set aside their books in order to do other classwork. What a great problem to have!
A few details for the Roos Read Book challenge for the 2017-18 school year:
K-2 students are participating in the challenge this year and may choose between a 100 Book Challenge (made up largely of shorter/picture books) or a longer 25 Book Challenge. When/if it is appropriate for any K-2 student to transition to the 25 Book Challenge featuring specified genres and longer texts, they may do so mid-year.
Adults (parents or WISD staff members) are also encouraged to join the 25 Book Challenge!
We encourage students and adults to promote what they've read on social media - just use the #RoosRead.
Thank you for joining us in the Roos Read Book Challenge journey this year. Your encouragement will be a great part of your child’s success in reaching their goals.
Amy Hall, ELA Elementary Curriculum Coordinator
Amanda McCown, ELA Secondary Curriculum Coordinator