Reading Challenges Throughout the School Year

It’s no secret that I ❤️ LOVE ❤️  reading…I taught 6th grade Reading and Language for 4 years before moving to 5th grade.  I also have my K-12 Reading certification, although I don’t know if I ever want to be out of the classroom!

That being said, I enjoy seeing my students grow as readers.  There is SO MUCH we can learn from books; when students lose themselves in a book OR they find themselves in a story, my heart gets a little hug.

There are a variety of ways I challenge my students through the school year to read, read, read.


My team read Donalyn Miller’s Book Whisper and Reading in the Wild {affliate links} a few years ago.

I have also seen her speak numerous times and love all that she stands for!  Although our system is not perfect, we have tried to incorporate a 30 book challenge into the school year.  This has evolved and grown each year as we learn and adapt to our students’ needs.  This year, I redid our book review response book to include more graphic organizers that get to the heart of the reading and skills students need (vs. having to write summaries all the time!)  We are also only introducing a few genres each trimester and having those as a focus for picture and chapter book read alouds; thus making sure students really grasp the traits each genre brings to the table.


I thoroughly enjoy “teaching the month” to my students; although they are big kids, they still love doing month activities, learning about the holidays, etc.  I play into this by offering a few reading challenges throughout the school year:
Winter and Spring Break

I created these to push my students to read just a bit more during extended breaks, as well as practice their writing.  My students this past year loved the spring break challenge I created, so I went ahead and made a winter break one as well!  The best part is that these are {editable} to meet the needs of your students!

Olympic Reading-Aiming for a Gold

I just love the Olympics and everything involved with them.  Being from Minnesota, I am inclined to watch the Winter Ones, as I just “get” sports done in the cold! ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

4 years ago my team, on a whim, decided to do a reading challenge in conjunction with the winter games.  This year, I compiled all that we did into an easy to use resource for you!  Included are some fun ideas to introduce and build excitement for your students including:

  • Running in to the Olympic Theme with a torch (made of butcher/tissue paper, of course)
  • Creating a stage for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place readers or books
  • Making medals from washers and ribbon
  • “Training” for the event by having reading parties!
  • Etc.
I am excited to introduce this challenge to them come February (the games are Feb 9-25,) and not only push students to read more, but also sharing their favorite “Gold Medal Reads” with each other and really build up our reading community!
How do you encourage reading in your classroom?  I’d love to hear your ideas and add to my list of great reading resources!

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