Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reflecting on the 40 Book Challenge

As we close in on the end of the school year, I'm glad to say that I have completed the Teacher 40 Book Challenge. In September, I wrote about my plan to complete the 40 Book Challenge alongside my students. However, since I am an avid reader, I told my students that I would read double the number of books in their challenge. This means that I needed to read 80 books.

The number of books wasn't the challenge for me, though. Overall I read 125 books this school year. The challenge for me was reading the various genres. The Challenge includes several titles from each of 10 genres.
My progress - Very, very public

My favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction. This was made painfully obvious when I completed those genres (8 fantasy and 4 science fiction) by the end of September. Never fear, I thought, I'll just put the rest of them under free choice....

My Free Choice Novels (18) were completed in January. Oops.

Like most of my students, I found myself struggling to complete the poetry, classics, and nonfiction requirements. With 5 weeks left in the school year, I still had one from each of those categories to read. So I set up a plan and publicized it to my students - I would read on of those books each week, finishing the challenge with 2 weeks to spare.

And... I did it! You can even check out my complete list of books read.

Thoughts on My Personal Progress: 
I really enjoyed reading genres that I'm not accustomed to. For instance I absolutely loved My Father's Dragon (classic), The Mighty Miss Malone (historical fiction), and The Animal Book (nonfiction). I can confidently say that I would not have read any of those terrific books if it weren't for this challenge.

I learned that I need to cultivate a more specific interest in nonfiction, mystery, and poetry books. To do this, I want to find authors and/or series that really grab me.

In May I needed 2 more nonfiction books, but had no interest in anything on the shelves. So I did a search on Goodreads Listopia for great nonfiction books. I was looking for a consistently wonderful author. I already love Steve Jenkins, but I've already read all of his books. Luckily, I discovered Catherine Thimmesh. I went straight to the library and check out two of her books, Team Moon and Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled. They were excellent!

Thoughts on My Students's Progress:
School is out in 2 weeks, so I'll update you then. As of now, 9 of my 19 students have completed the challenge. That's double our completion rate from last year! Plus, there are 3 other students who are so close.

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