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Reading without Walls Challenge

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At the beginning of the month, our school librarian, Ms. Dittmar, started a program called the “Reading without Walls Challenge”. It was created to give initiative to students so that they would branch out and read things that they usually don’t. The challenge was as follows:

  1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look/live like you
  2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about
  3. Read a book in a format you usually don’t normally read for fun.

Students can win prizes just by reading books that fall under these three broad categories, followed by filling out a Google drawing template and sharing it with Ms. Dittmar. However, students may only use one book that is required reading for school. The other two must be completed independently, not for school credit.  

What inspired this challenge? Over the summer, Ms. Dittmar attended a reading conference called Follett’s Reading Con. Gene Luen Yang, an author who was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, was one of the event’s speaker (Read more about Mr. Yang and his achievements here). The Reading without Walls Challenge was Mr. Yang’s way of getting students to broaden their horizons when reading. It isn’t something that is just encouraging students to read more, but it is encouraging student to read books that they usually wouldn’t pick up.

“Reading about someone who doesn’t look like you or live like you can help create empathy and understanding for others. I think that is an important skill for all of us to gain.” -Ms. Dittmar, High School Librarian

This challenge not only challenges students to read books about events and cultures they do not know much about, but also read in formats that they usually wouldn’t. For example, this would be reading a graphic novel for the first time, a novel in verse, or an audiobook/ebook. Any book in a format that a student usually doesn’t read would work perfectly for this challenge.

Now, the only problem is figuring out which books to read. Overdrive and our high school library have a wide selection of books, and Ms. Dittmar is more than willing to help anyone find a book that would interest them. Some titles she recommends include Turtles All the Way Down by John Green,  A Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina.

After reading, students should be sure to fill out the Google drawing template and share it with Ms. Dittmar. All completed challenges will be printed and hung up in the library! Then, students can go to the library and pick out a prize. Ms. Dittmar has Rocketbook notebooks available, gift certificates to area restaurants, gift certificates to the Warrior’s Way Cafe, and much more.

Happy reading!

 

reading without walls picture retrieved from: Corbett, Susan. “Yang Issues ‘Reading Without Walls Challenge’.” Publisher’s Weekly, PWxyz, LLC., 15 Sept. 2016.

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