All teachers (no matter the subject area) have dealt with the students who don't like to read. We hear all of the excuses, we (mostly) patiently wait on the students to go through the reasons they can't read, and so much more. As a teacher of those who struggle with reading, I used to hear this daily. Did you notice that "used to" in the sentence? This year has been a game changer for me with my kiddos and their reading and I attribute it all to The Reading Bucket List!
Hope King at Elementary Shenanigans and Adam Dovico (both of whom have taught and are currently teaching at The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, GA) started spreading the word about something they were doing that was inspired by the work of Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisper: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. I was immediately hooked! So when the day of teh periscope rolled around, I was glued to my phone!
You can read all about how the Reading Bucket List works on Hope's blog here, but basically the students are challenged to read 60 genres throughout the school year! I know some of you are thinking, "60? There aren't 60 genres!" Well, take a look at how Adam and Hope broke the box that we have been limiting ourselves into smithereens! It is amazing. I don't want to take their thunder away and they are both full of great ideas, so go check it out there!
I will show you a glance into my classroom with it, though. My students were hesitant at first because they were intimated by the number of genres. We are half way through the year and my students who didn't read a book (not a single one) last year have already read 20 or more genres! They love the challenge of finding something within the genre that matches the criteria, showing their friends what they are reading, and seeing what I am reading. I have my Bucket List posted outside my door and my students and all of the students in my school are able to look and see what I have been reading. I haven't been grading this, only promoting literacy. I may change that next year. Adam and Hope have done a great job of including in the resource pages for students to collect book titles and more, but since I had already started my year, I just maintained what we were already doing. (I already had a "Genre" column on my book list for my students and this is how they are keeping up with which ones they have read).
My kiddos have fallen in love with reading again because of this amazing resource! My librarian has even allowed me to post the genres in the Media Center for my students so that when they are in there they can double check what they need. Now we even have other students accepting the challenge because they have seen my kids reading such a variety! My faculty is going to be participating next year too! When our kiddos see that we are invested in it, they will take it and run. One of the things that is stressed in this by Hope and Adam and I point out to my students is that a variety of book formats can fit into each genre. They might not all be novels and that's okay!
Check out the Reading Bucket List and challenge your students! It is never too late. Start with it tomorrow and scale the number of genres back. You never know, they could get them all read!