Based on a concept developed by children’s author, Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, 4th graders at Johnston Elementary have put aside reading logs and taken on the Tower of Books Challenge. The challenge is built on two core ideas:  to encourage students to read some different genres of books and authors they may not try otherwise, and to give them a fresh and motivating way to keep track of their reading. Tyra Miller, 4th grade teacher, stated, “This challenge encourages kids to step out of their comfort zone and take a risk with something different when selecting a book.”

The purpose of the reading assignment is to encourage and motivate the students to read. It is a personal challenge not a contest that helps them develop a passion for reading by offering them choices.  The challenge will last the entire school year with a total of 40 books hopefully being read by each 4th grader.  Each student has a “tower” consisting of 40 blank book spines.  As a student completes a book, the spine is filled in with number, book title, and category.

There will be a celebration for the students achieving the ultimate goal of reading those 40 books.  There will also be incentives for reading 10 book increments along the way.  The lasting reward however will be a group of students who learn to love reading and gain new information through literacy.