Reader’s Quest

I’m still in the process of hashing out a gaming/challenge style reading program for this year. Lots of brainstorming has been going on, and I am so grateful that my PLN is full of brilliant and giving people (shout outs to @TKSlibrarian, @candidlibrarian, and @coxtl for their awesomeness!).

Here’s the background that has led me to this situation: My district uses Accelerated Reader, but I just don’t feel that it’s the best fit for my middle school students. I feel like I was able to help get the elementary AR program going in the right direction and I’m proud of the work that was done there, but I’m not getting that same feeling from AR at CMS. I’ve also recently read Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer, which is EXACTLY the fit that I feel we need at the middle school!

Anyway, I guess we aren’t ready to completely scrap AR just yet. And we want to give our kids choices. So kids will have the option to “opt out” of AR for another reading promotion program. Therefore, I needed to create a program. Or rather, get with some other people and steal their ideas — which is what I’m doing!

The alternative reading program is going to be called Reader’s Quest (I believe I stole that name from Tamara). Students will have the chance to earn badges such as these:

  • Fiction Ninja – books from three genres
  • Fiction Master – books from six genres
  • Nonfiction Ninja – books from 8 categories
  • Nonfiction Master – one from each category
  • Subject Ninja/Jedi – two subject pairing of a fiction/nonfiction book
  • Subject Master – subject pairing of at least three fiction/nonfiction books
  • Manga Master – finish an entire series

We definitely still have some fine points to work out, but what I really want to see come of this are discussions between students and teachers about what they are reading. In addition to working towards badges and participating in “secret challenges” (thinking about putting challenges on slips of paper, keeping in an envelope or hiding them in books for students to complete), students are going to set a goal each 9 week period for the amount they are going to read. I also want to see them create some type of product each 9 week period — a book review in Destiny, a podcast review, a video trailer, etc.

Like I said, this is all still a work in progress but I do need to get things firmed up pretty soon — especially since school starts in just one week!

4 thoughts on “Reader’s Quest

  1. Have you thought about how you will award the badges? I’ve been listening to EdmodoCon all day and if there’s one message I’ve taken from it, it’s MUST.USE.BADGES. I too have been looking for alternative options for AR and LOVE what you’ve come up with so far! I think I will try and incorporate Edmodo and badges when I “steal” your idea this school year. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I am so excited for you. I too have done away with AR – except I am doing school wide! We are a rural Pre-K thru 12th grade school in Oklahoma. I too am looking for a new program. I have read some info on the Book Whisperer, but have yet to read the book. Good luck, I look forward to following your progress.

  3. We have a AR night out after students earn 50 points in January. The use the gyms bowling equipment to bowl for books (donated by teachers and pto), have a pizza party (provided by pto) and then have a scavenger hunt throughout the school (I can explain later if interested). The night ends with reading in the darken gym w/a flashlight until the parents pick them up. We are an elementary school, but it is the older kids that LOVE this. 100 points the kids go on a field trip sometime in May, usually a museum that is free that day, the school pays for the bus. We also have an AR store where students buy items w/their points; usually funky school supplies. Love your blog. 🙂

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