A Reading Challenge to promote wide reading

At the start of 2017, a Reading Challenge was designed which aimed to encourage wide reading and direct students to different resources in the school library. As the library provides for 25 classes Years K-6, three different Challenges were created:

  • Years 1 and 2 (Stage 1)
  • Years 3 and 4 (Stage 2)
  • Years 5 and 6 (Stage 3)

Sample of a Reading Challenge

In summary, each Reading Challenge has 36 reading-related tasks, some tasks are directed to a book series such as Oxford Reading Tree or National Geographic Kids, however, most tasks are open-ended for example Read a book with a character’s name in the title.

Promoting the Reading Challenge once underway can be done by doing a quick read (blurb, the first couple of pages) and asking where the book would fit into the Challenge – most books cover more than one task.

In order to simplify and share the Reading Challenges, I have combined aspects of each and created two levels. The files are in Word allowing for adjustments and aligning to your school or class library collection.

The Reading Challenges can be downloaded via TES Resources – Reading Challenge.

Some Tips:

  • Introduce the Reading Challenge early in the school year and provide a certificate for halfway – 18 tasks completed and final 36 completed tasks. Templates for certificates are also included. If you start later in the year the Challenge could be refined.
  • Students colour in each square as they complete the task, a date can be added if required. It may also be helpful for students to write the name of the book read and date – a template for this is also provided, it can be printed on the back of the Challenge.
  • If used during Library borrowing it is helpful to keep the Reading Challenges in a class folder, keep a record of progress using a checklist such as student name / completed 18 / completed 36.
  • Count the Challenges about twice a term, record a date and number completed each count.

The Reading Challenge encourages students to be mindful about finding different books to read as they progress with the Challenge. What the class teacher’s and I noticed is that students who already read a lot took to the Challenge quickly needing little encouragement or guidance. One Year 5 student who was ‘a reader’ asked for help finding ‘verse novels’ she was directed to Odette’s Secrets by Maryann Macdonald which she reported she really enjoyed and asked for more like that. Students who generally read less needed more encouragement, taking time to talk to them about what they are enjoying and guiding to suitable books is highly recommended. If a student received a certificate for 18 Reading Challenge tasks completed that is an achievement!

The images in the documents were purchased under licence from https://www.flaticon.com/


Creating a Community of Readers article

Creating a Community of Readers was a presentation at the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) Biennial Conference – Challenge to Change, 13-14 July 2017. Details of the presentation are provided in a previous Post.

The full article related to the presentation has been published in ACCESS the Journal of the School Library Association of Australia.

Creating a Community of Readers. ACCESS, Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2017.

Click below to obtain the article:

Laretive J ACCESS September 2017-2kldnxb



Ignite wide reading with diverse resources at your school library

School libraries have a vital role in the provision and promotion of quality and diverse reading materials that inform, value and ignite reading. Promoting “a reading culture through the active promotion of literature” (Australian School Library Association, 2004) is one of the ASLA teacher librarian standards. Promotion and access to varied reading materials “helps students to engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience” (Australian Curriculum English 8.3). Encouraging wide reading and access to a variety of reading materials increases students interests and motivation to read (Miller, 2012). “Numerous research studies prove that wide reading improves children’s comprehension, background knowledge, vocabulary, fluency, and writing” (Krashen, 2004 as cited in Miller, 2012). Furthermore, literacy development and achievement is benefited by recreational reading and reading for enjoyment (Merga, 2016).

The following resources have made a difference to the diversity of reading resources available to children at my school library adding to the existing range of imaginative and informative books. The resources that follow also link to the Australian Curriculum in that they provide access to imaginative, informative and persuasive texts in different formats and for different age levels.

Crinkling News: Australian Newspaper for Young Australian’s 

The Crinkling News newspaper has been very popular at my school library, it is a subscription based tabloid format newspaper published weekly for children aged between 7-14.  The Crinkling News website offers some additional features – videos, opinion polls, and comments. Readings.com.au spoke with the editor Saffron Howdon about the importance of media literacy for children.

Story Box Library: Australian Stories read by storytellers

Story Box Library is an online subscription based resource that contains a collection of Australian literature read engagingly by storytellers. Story Box Library promotes the resource as a “reading room” where books are communicated through film providing “…a vibrant, interactive experience via a diverse range of everyday Australian storytellers”(storyboxlibrary.com.au). The resource also provides theme details and valuable classroom notes for the stories.

DK findout! Visual and engaging information, images and videos

DK findout! is a free website that is visually stimulating and contains appealing content for classroom teaching and learning. Information is concise, the page layout is well organised and the reader is able to click to reveal summaries or listen to a sound recording. This resource is very attractive and provides wonderful opportunities for learning and general interest exploring. I suggest taking a look at the Volcanoes page as it provides an excellent example of the high standard of information and design. Continue reading