The Bibliopolis 40-Book Challenge

If you’re a parent of a child who is 4th grade and up, you know about the 40-Book Challenge already. This is not just for kids at Gracepoint Berkeley church, but throughout our Gracepoint ministries.

Here’s how it works: The challenge is to read 40 books (or more) throughout the 2015-2016 school year. No problem, you say! Well…not only do I want to encourage reading often, it’s important to read widely too. That means getting out of our reading comfort zones. We’ve all got our favorite genre of books, and that’s totally fine! But there’s not only one kind of text out there in the world, so we want to exercise all of our reading muscles. The 40 is kind of arbitrary; it’s not a magic number. It’s because it comes out to roughly one book a week during a school year. The main point is to see reading as a continuous thing, not just something we do in spurts. The goal is to establish reading habits, which can develop our reading lives.

The Genres:

  • Non-fiction (includes (auto)biographies, apologetics): 8
  • Realistic Fiction: 6
  • Classics (defined broadly): 5
  • Historical Fiction: 3
  • Fantasy/Sci-Fi: 3
  • Action/Adventure/Mystery: 2
  • Poetry (includes novels in verse): 2
  • Graphic Novel: 1
  • Choice (whatever genre you choose): 10

Wait a minute! Didn’t you say that choice is the most important thing in terms of fostering a love of reading? Why yes, I did. But you’ll notice that the largest genre “requirement” is actually the genre of their own choosing. AND they can choose whatever books they want to within the other genres.

For each child, the goal is to challenge yourself and to read more than last school year. So it’s not so much about the 40 books, but the personal growth. So if one kid “only” reads 29 books, but has come to like reading more than last year when she only read 3 books, that is a  HUGE WIN! Another kid might already love reading, so for them, I’m going to push them beyond 40 books. And it’s entirely doable. I challenge all of them to beat my record of 160 books last school year. I don’t think I can beat my own record, since my reading has ironically slowed down since becoming the official church librarian!

Some kids ask: “What do we get if we meet the challenge?!”

My response: “You GET to have read 40+ awesome books!” 🙂

And then I add that as an extra incentive, we will be having a Summer Reading Getaway where one of their church plant friends lives. Wait a minute! Didn’t you say that we shouldn’t “pay” our kids to read? Why yes, I did, but I also said that rewarding reading with reading is different.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to provide positive reading experiences, and to build up a community of young readers. Each group of peers has a googledoc where they log their books, pages, and mini-reviews, and the most delightful part for me is seeing them recommend books for one another, and just getting excited about reading!

Is your child participating in the reading challenge? How many books did you read last year? What were/are your reading goals for 2015?

6 thoughts on “The Bibliopolis 40-Book Challenge

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