Reading & Literacy Opinion

The 3rd Annual Book-A-Day Challenge

By Donalyn Miller — June 01, 2011 2 min read
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School ends in two days. Students are returning book hostages from their emptied lockers and trying to finish one last book before Friday. As the books wander back in, I am snagging titles that I haven’t been able to get my hands on all year. I stuffed The Scorch Trials, The Throne of Fire, and The Exiled Queen into my book bag today—hot sequels that I passed to students and never had the heart to retrieve for my own reading purposes. Sad that my classroom children are leaving me for good, I can find solace with my shelf children for the next three months.

With every ending, there’s a beginning. Our last work day is June 4th, and I will start my third annual Book-A-Day Challenge on June 5th. Although I read about two or three books a week during the school year, I read over half of my yearly book total during the summer months. For the past two summers, I have set the goal of reading a book for every day of my summer break. Looking at our district calendar, this works out to 78 books this year (same as last summer). Will you join me in the Book-A-Day Challenge?

Here is how it works:

Read one book per day for each day of summer vacation. This is an average, so if you read three books one day (Hey, I have done this!) and none the next two, it still counts.

You set your own start date and end date.

Any book qualifies including picture books, nonfiction, professional books, poetry anthologies, or fiction.

You can read children’s, young adult and adult titles. I will warn you, though, that my husband got bogged down in Justin Cronin’s 784 page tome, The Passage, last summer and never recovered.

Keep a list of the books you read and share them when you can via a social networking site like goodreads or Shelfari, Facebook page, Twitter feed (post using the #bookaday hashtag), or a blog. You do not have to post reviews, but you can if you wish. Titles will do.

When I first began the Book-A-Day Challenge two years ago, announcing my insane personal reading goal online was a way to hold myself accountable. I never imagined the marvelous reading community it would become for the readers who participate. Although it began as a summer event, #bookaday on Twitter receives daily posts all year long. At this moment, participants are actively sharing titles and commenting on the books they read.

Let me admit a secret. I probably won’t make my Book-A-Day Challenge this year without reading more than a few picture books and graphic novels to hedge my bets. You probably won’t either. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what we read, or how much, or when. What matters is that we celebrate reading, share our book love with other readers, discover new titles, and enjoy ourselves. When I walk back into my classroom in August, I will be changed by the books I read this summer and I will have more to offer my students, too.

Are you ready?

The books are calling me. They are loud. They are piled all over my house.

Let the Book-A-Day Challenge begin!

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