40-Book Challenge

Sixth-grader Sunny Chandler reads in her classroom.

EASTON — The Upper School English team at The Country School has thrown down the gauntlet and made the 40-Book Challenge the goal this year for all of its 5th through 8th grade students.

With this challenge, students are encouraged to stretch themselves as readers, selecting from a variety of genres — both favorites and not-yet-favorites — to read a total of 40 books during the school year.

In all classes at The Country School, students have considered what kinds of books they already enjoy, and what genres, with more exposure, they might learn to appreciate more. They’ve set personal reading goals to be worked toward, along with a set of reading goals that will be incorporated into classroom instruction. For example, seventh-graders later this year will research a person and then write a mystery podcast about them. This will mean students are reading several biographies in class so that multiple books in the biography genre are included in their 40-Book Challenge plan.

“We can best serve our students if we can help them to see reading as not limited to English class, or even just for school, but as a life habit,” said Becky Amaral, 6th and 7th grade English teacher.

Recognizing that reading is a significant predictor of success in life, reading for fun is built into the daily schedule for all Country School students. Summer book clubs are led not just by teachers, but by a corps of volunteers from all school departments who model for students what it means to be a lifelong reader. This message is consistent with that of parents who participate in their own book clubs show their children that reading is for everyone, and it’s for always.

“There is a range of texts that we are open to including in the challenge,” said Amaral. “Ultimately, the goal is to push our students to read, read, read. And along the way, we hope they find new worlds to explore and ideas that inspire.”

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