Growing Bookworms Newsletter: February 19
See You at Harry's: Jo Knowles

MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge Inspires 48 Hour Book-a-thon at Indiana Elementary School

48hbc_newI thought that some of you, particularly those of you who have participated in MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge each summer, would appreciate this story. One of my newer blog readers, reading teacher Mary Hall from Swayzee Elementary School in Indiana, saw that I had mentioned the 48 Hour Book Challenge on Pinterest. Mary emailed to ask me what it was about, because she was looking for ways to inspire her students to read more books.

I told her that MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge was designed to reinvigorate bloggers, by setting aside a 48 hour period in which they would read (and blog) as much as possible. Mary, a reading teacher with 20 years of experience, was able to apply this basic idea to her own students, launching a 48 Hour Book Challenge on February 8th. Here's what she reported:

"I have 130 fifth graders for reading. I challenged them to read as many pages/books as they could in a 48 hour period.

I had a kickoff on Friday after school from 3-7:00. We had a snack and then read in the gym in 30 to 45 minute increments. We met in groups to share our books and then went back to reading. Our principal provided pizza for us, so we took a break at 5:30 to eat. The kids were so quiet during our reading time, you could have heard a pin drop. 70 students attended the kickoff. I was thrilled with the attendance.

I sent home a reading log with all students to be returned Monday morning. All total the students read 23,983 pages. The kids loved it and I was thrilled with the participation. Thanks for inspiring me to do this with your talk about a 48 hour book-a-thon." 

Isn't that great? 70 kids devoting their Friday afternoon and evening to reading books. More than 300 pages per student read over the weekend. And it sounds like Mary (together with someone who is clearly a supportive principal) made the whole event FUN. And that's what it's all about, right? Getting kids excited about reading. It makes me so happy to have had a tiny part in inspiring this event. (I'm sure that MotherReader will be pleased, too). Way to go, Mary! So great to see a reading teacher go the extra mile to drum up enthusiasm about reading. 

I also wanted to point out a couple of other things about Mary and her 48 Hour Book-a-thon. 

  • Mary first contacted me on December 29th, and held her event on February 8th. Impressive speed, I thought. How much better to just launch quickly and generate enthusiasm right away, rather than spending months planning or coming up with prizes or stickers or whatever. Just do it, that's the take home message that I take from this (though I'm sure it was still a lot of work).
  • Mary first found my blog through a mention in Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer, a resource to inspire any reading teacher. I'm quite sure that Donalyn would approve. 

So, readers, what do you think? Have any of you tried a 48 hour reading challenge with your students? Or with your children? I had a friend (Holly) who I would have LOVED to do something with when I was 10. 

This post © 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. My thanks to Mary Hall for permission to share her event with you all.