The best parts of my job are, hands down, the opportunities I get to collaborate with my amazing colleagues. So when the 6th Grade ELA team had a gap in their schedule between Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks that they wanted to fill with an independent reading unit, I was thrilled. And then the ideas started coming fast and furious. What if I bring a cart of books into the classroom? Oh – let’s teach THEM how to book talk? What about book reviewing? And I know, let’s let the kids pick any book they want! And I have this bulletin board we can fill with the books they’ve read. And what about hot chocolate? We definitely need hot chocolate.
And friends, that is how the 6th Grade READ-A-LATTE CHALLENGE was born!
Now, I’m a librarian in an independent school, where we have a certain degree of freedom to make last-minute changes to our curriculum, so you may have more constraints on you when trying this in your own classes. But it’s a great little unit to implement when you have a small chunk of time. The kids loved it. We loved it. And best of all? Each and every one of the kids met–or exceeded–the goal they set for themselves. Our 61 6th graders read a grand total of 217 books in 21 days.
61 kids. 217 books. 21 days. The only rule was that they couldn’t read a book that they have already read. Their teachers graded them on the book talks and book reviews, which they uploaded to Flipgrid.
Oh, and the hot chocolate? Well, the Middle School Library was turned into a magical winter wonderland for the occasion. First, we settled in for our Read-A-Latte Lightning Round. The kids assembled themselves in two rows, each with a partner. They then had 30 seconds to pitch their books to their partner before the rows rotated. Once they had heard from everyone, we celebrated with hot cocoa (and toppings), winter word searches, and checking out even more books. It was a win-win for everyone!
Good luck! And let me know if you try this on your own – I’d love to hear how it goes!