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Melissa Mathieson

on 21 January 2016

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U Decide is a highly engaging, school-wide reading competition. The competition is designed to build up a strong culture amongst students and staff,
of life-long literacy lovers!
BOOK criteria
Comb the online "Hot Reads" Book lists (e.g. Good Reads, Chapters, YRCA, etc.)
Consult avid readers on staff, local librarians, book store employees for suggestions.
Head to your local book store and pick up the top fifty, young adult fiction titles on your list!
Hand out books to fellow staffers and have them preview each book. *We do this over the summer holidays!
Books that DO NOT make the cut are filtered back into the general library collection.
Books that are deemed appropriate, will be shortlisted and the staff previewer must submit 10 comprehension questions based on the content of the novel.
At the end of this process, the organizing committee (pre-designated) will determine the final fifteen titles based on a good mix of titles that meet our criteria!
Here comes the hype!
In our best year, over 1500 novels
were read by a school population of
just under 500!

Must be published within the past two years.
Can only be first in series.
Cannot be a movie
Must have a selection that varies in genre, difficulty and maturity level.
Must have a selection that is both appealing to male and female audiences.
Aim to choose highly engaging books that appeal for purposes of leisure (not for teaching LA!)

This competition has opened doors to
valuable conversation between
staff and students.
pat results in LA are
at an all-time high!

This competition has become
part of the culture and expectation of our school. It brings together staff and students.
This competition is completely
inclusive and acts as a bond for
students of all academic capabilities.
Monthly Prizes are awarded based on draws made for students that have read a book that month. Names are entered one entry per book read. Prizes include $5 gift cards, movie passes, etc. Usually two student/staff names drawn per month.
Prizes are awarded to each student and staff that reads all 15 books.
To refresh student/staff investment in the competition, we also run "March Madness" where additional draws are made for students that have completed reads, for challenge winners (e.g. first to read a particular title) and for whole class challenges (e.g. first to complete a read aloud in the month of March).
The Ultimate Prize is for the top three classes to take trip to visit Indigo, where each student is given a $10 tab to purchase a book of their choosing for them to keep!
To kick off the competition and to celebrate Read In Week, the staff put on a U Decide Pep Rally! During the Pep Rally, students are introduced to the competition, rules, awarded prizes like free books, t-shirts and gift cards AND the titles are finally revealed!!!!
In the interest of fairness between a variety of class sizes, we have developed a formula to calculate points:

other essential info
**This is not a one man job!***
The MONEY will total at approximately $5000 but most money will eventually funnel back into general library stock! **Book sharing with other schools could help diminish the cost.
The TIME commitment is extensive. Taking charge of this competition requires commitment by all staff on a daily basis. **It will get easier to maintain after the initial start up!
It is best to send home next year's preview books in June, for people to read over the holidays! There just isn't enough time to put the list together in September only!
There must be pre-designated staff and locations for taking quizzes- this is also where the competition log books/binders will be kept. It is best to have one master binder, where all scores are combined and tabulated.
Pre-ordering a number of copies of each book, will ensure that every class will have at least 2-3 titles available upon launch of the competition. This should hold them over until the remaining book choices can be ordered in.

So let me get this straight...they want us to read?
It has
Yes, it has.
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