But then I read this post on Book Riot: http://bookriot.com/2014/12/15/book-riot-2015-read-harder-challenge/ about their Read Harder Challenge for 2015. I must admit I was intrigued by the concept. Here are the first 5 challenges on the list:
A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
A book published by an indie press
A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
Done already. I have read Hinton, Atwater-Rhodes, Korman and others who were published well before 25 years of age. WORDS BY HEART by Ouida Sebestyen was published when she was in her 60s. I love story collections: ATHLETIC SHORTS, SIXTEEN, TOMORROWLAND, all collections with stories by well-known YA authors. Soho Teen is (I hope) an indie press. And I try to read widely in the LGBTQ area.
I began to think, though, about setting up some challenges for kids. Some years ago, my undergrad and grad students set up their own challenges when they are asked to read books that included several factors. What they worked so hard to accomplish was to read as FEW books as possible by locating books that met more than 1-2 challenges. I decided the "double-dipping" (as my then colleagues Ruth called it) was counterproductive to what I hoped, and so kept those requirements but disallowed the double-dipping.
How could we take some of these challenges and make them part of the classroom that still honors choice?Look at the challenges from the middle of the list at Book Riot:
A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
A collection of poetry
A book that someone else has recommended to you
A book that was originally published in another language
I think these are challenges middle school and high school kids could achieve. What it means, though, is that we have some lists, displays, shelves, etc. that will help readers locate books if they need some assistance.
What other challenges could we extend? Certainly our kids cold help us come up with some challenges, too. This is a challenge that is also sort of a scavenger hunt. Searching for some books to meet challenges could lead to some new learning and maybe an appreciation of some new books, authors, genres, etc.