40 Book Teacher Challenge

“We read to know we are not alone.” - C.S. Lewis

The 40 Book Challenge Inspiration

The idea of a 40 Book Challenge comes from Donalyn Miller, 5th grade teacher and author of The Book Whisperer (2009) and Reading in the Wild (2013). Each year, Miller encourages her students to read 40 books during the school year. Students are allowed to choose what books they read and the only "requirement" is that students are asked to read a minimum number of titles in each genre.


The idea of reading voluminous amounts of books across genres really isn't a revolutionary idea. There are large amounts of research out there to support the fact that when students are given access to a large number of books, choice of what they read, time to read, and opportunities to respond and share, they will become more thoughtful, life-long readers.

Why a 40 Book TEACHER Challenge?

We're glad you asked! The Literacy Team at Biddeford Intermediate School knows that the more we all talk about books with our students and share our own reading lives with them, the more reading they will actually do! We also know that the most powerful model we can provide for our students to not just be teachers of reading but to actually be readers. Conversations about books happen more naturally and more frequently when teachers are reading what their students might enjoy reading. The 40 Book Teacher Challenge is meant to encourage all of us to read more, so we can do a better job of helping students discover and solidify their own reading lives.



So how will the 40 Book Teacher Challenge Work?

We all know that all of our plates are full and this challenge isn't meant to be "one more thing" you have to do. So, we're trying to keep this as simple as possible. Ultimately, we hope that you'll choose to read books that you can share with your students. However, in true "Book Whisperer" fashion, you choose what you read and when you read.


When you have finished a book simply fill out the Google form provided below. If you would rather keep a paper copy of your reading, there is a chart (PDF) that you can print and keep track that way. If you use a Reading Log with your students, you are welcome to use that also. Some teachers have decided to extend their "Reading Life" door as a way to keep track too! Fantastic!


The only perameter we are placing on books is with picture books. We fully support the use of picture books at all grade levels so please read them! However, to keep the challenge fair to those who are choosing to only read chapter/professional books we will count 5 picture books as 1 book.


40 Book Teacher Challenge

The challenge will run from September through May 31st. All books must be recorded, using which ever format you've chosen, and turned in to Susan Dee by June 2, 2014.


You can use this challenge a part of your Professional Recertification Plan. If you are going to to that you must submit a pre-approval form to Lisa Duchaine now.


All staff members (teachers, specialists, office staff, Title One staff, did we miss anyone?) who successfully complete the 40 Book Challenge will be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift certificate to Kennebooks in Kennebunk to help build your classroom library!


Bonus: If you created a Reading Life Door AND complete the 40 Book Challenge you will entered into a raffle for a $50 Amazon Gift Card from McArthur Public Library!



Susan Dee

Wife. Auntie. 5th Grade Teacher. Adjunct Instructor. Co-host of #MELit Chat. Chairperson of #nErDcampNNE. Avid Reader & Recommender. Devoted to inspiring life-long reading habits!