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40 Book Challenge!

What we did today:

  1. Discuss 40 book challenge.
  2. Week 1, Day 4 warm up- went over, handed in for a grade.
  3. Finished baseline writing.
  4. Checked out a book from my library.

REMINDER: Bring composition notebook MONDAY!

Note to parents:

Mrs. LaNeave’s Class Is Ready to Read 40 Books!

Student Goal: Over the course of school year, each student will read 40 books of their choice from various genres.

I have implemented independent reading in my classroom for the past seven years. I used to teach at a school where I had a 90-minute block of English— it was much easier to carve away time to read for pleasure in those classes because there were hardly any time constraints!

As your child’s teacher, I promise to give them access to great books in school, time to read these books, recommend books based on their interests, and read 40 books myself! Yes, even with a family of 2 small kids (1 and 4) and a new puppy (8 weeks as of now)! So if they complain they don’t have time to read, I will tell them, “If anyone doesn’t have time, it’s me!”

“The Book Whisperer” refers to a language arts teacher named Donalyn Miller. Her method enforces what good English teachers know anyway: Students become better readers and lifelong readers if they are immersed in reading of self-selected books. Studies have shown that students who read frequently show higher comprehension of material, fluency, vocabulary development, and become better writers because of their exposure to a variety of literature.

This is a free reading program where students are free to choose every one of the 40 books that they will read. I will provide a list of genres from which to read, but the book selections for that genre will be up to them. Students who like to read longer books should know that any book over 300 pages will count as 2 books. There will be no tests or book reports assigned to the books, but students will need to write a short letter in their reading journals to me once a week about what they are reading (including what they liked/didn’t like/predictions/recommendations/ what they want to read next, etc.). Once a grading period they will be asked to talk about or write a book review on the class blog promoting a book they think their classmates and teammates should read. I will do everything in my power to see each and every one of my students succeed.

I can’t wait to see the pride on their faces and yours this year as they meet or exceed this 40-book goal!

Happy Reading!

Mrs. LaNeave

School phone 365-4100


Why 40 books?

Cheesy answer, but “the more you read, the more you succeed.” Anyone can improve their reading and learn to love reading for pleasure if they just find the right book or genre or series that they love. Also, I think if I set the goal high enough, even struggling readers will rise to the challenge. I can ensure that I can find a book for any reader, any day. I have been teaching long enough (11 years!) and read enough books (an exhausting amount to even count),  I can recommend a book to anyone. And if not, I am up for the challenge! J

What if I can’t read all 40 books?

You will. Just pick a book and get started; if you hate it, switch to another (but it doesn’t count to your 40). And, with free book choice, you always have the opportunity to try books that interest you, especially informational.

Do I have to read school library books or AR books?

If they happen to be AR books, okay. If not, don’t sweat it. You can read books from my class library, the public library, or from home as long as they are school appropriate. And don’t think you will read books I know are too easy for you; you may get away with it a few times, then I am challenging you. Trust me.

What if I hate my book?

Get a new one. If I don’t like a book as an adult, I pick a different one. The same applies for you!

How am I getting graded on all of this?

I can’t give you a lumped grade at the end of the year for reaching 40 books, so I will be giving you smaller assessments, such as your reading journal. I will also be talking to you constantly about what you are reading. So don’t pretend read; I will know! Also, your book review or class blog post recommending a book will count as a grade. I will also keep preparedness logs to make sure you have your books with you at all times. You cannot expect to be successful with reading if I offer to give you 100 minutes of reading time a week and you don’t even have your book. Be prepared.

What about preparing for the SOL and reading strategies?

Reading is the best way to become a better reader. I will be giving small lessons and thoughtful insights while reading books. We are not abandoning the textbook; we are reading some of the stories in order to hone in on those reading skills in isolation. That said, students will be reading a wide variety of genres such as fiction, nonfiction, mythology, poetry; these genres are seen on state tests and tests in English class through the year.

Remember: Reading will provide rewards for the rest of your life— not just in school! 


About dolphinsenglish

I am a seventh grade English teacher. I have been teaching for 10 years and have loved (most) of my years!

4 responses »


  2. HI CASSIDY!!!!!!!

  3. You guys are wierd…


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