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The 40 Book Challenge!

posted Oct 2, 2017, 10:25 AM by Kim Stuart
The 40 Book Challenge was conceived by Donalyn Miller, a 6th grade Texas teacher and author of The Book
. Donalyn instills the love of reading in her students by challenging them to read 40 books over the course of the school year. The only requirement is that students have to read across a variety of genres. Sounds impossible? It isn’t, as her students usually pass or surpass the 40 book goal. 

Miller found that providing time, space, and freedom for independent reading creates a culture of reading and lifelong reading habits. This work is important, as studies show that independent reading increases performance on tests, vocabulary, reading fluency, and motivation to read even more.

Here at Town the library has historically tried a variety of ways to encourage reading, especially in the older grades. After a self-study and correspondence with peer schools, we
piloted a half-year version of the 40 Book Challenge with 4th grade, and found that it encouraged many students to expand their reading repertoire while increasing book
 checkouts. It was a no-brainer to adopt the full 40 Book Challenge in the library this year in grades 3 - 8, especially because it complements our Reading Workshop instruction.

The 40 Book Challenge is already off to an amazing start, with four students having completed it! 5th grader Kyle, 3rd grader Vickram, 3rd grader Sean, and 4th grader Timothy are already done, and now can check out one extra book on their library accounts. Several teachers are participating too, as well as many families. 

If you haven't joined the challenge yet, we hope that you will consider trying it by tracking books with this form and sharing your progress with the Town community. Email stuart(at) if you need help or have questions. Together we can build a culture of reading!