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Big 20 Reading Challenge Results

An assessment of how a reading challenge went at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, UT.
by

Daniel Potter

on 28 May 2011

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Transcript of Big 20 Reading Challenge Results

Big 20 Challenge and Reading Results Mr. Potter's English Classes
2010-2011 At the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, the students in Mr. Potter's English classes at Westlake High School had a goal to read at least one book independently per month. In January of 2011, however, they were challenged to read 20 books before the end of the school year. These books came from a wide range of genres, including poetry, classical literature, biographies, science fiction, fantasy, mythology, realistic fiction, and mystery. The main goal of the reading challenge wasn't necessarily to see how many books we could read for the sake of numbers,

it was mainly to prove students at Westlake are a cut above the average. Many of the students were already well above the average U.S. reader: Estimated total # of books
independently read during 2009-2010
school year 944 TOTAL
(Average: 6 books per student) "I absolutely hate reading."
"I hate reading, but will do it if I have to."
"I HATE READING!!!!"
"I very rarely read willingly."
"Meh. I used to read in junior high, but not anymore." Pretty good!
However, here are a few direct quotes from a survey given at the beginning of the school year: Thus, one of the goals of the challenge was to change perceptions about reading by exposing students to several different kinds of books.
With guidance, students were able to select the books they'd read from each genre. So how did it go this year? Total books read Average number of independently read books per student: Just over 15 Books Total number of students who reported their reading results: 156 The real accomplishment, however, was receiving comments like these in the evaluation at the end of the challenge: "I actually like it, which is kind of surprising.
I used to never read at all and it would always put me to sleep, but I realized that it was only because I was reading boring books. Since I started reading books that interested me, I have started liking it a lot more." "I didn't hate reading, but it wasn't my favorite. Now I love reading!! I found so many books that I couldn't put down." "I have found out reading isn't as bad and evil as I thought it was last year." "My opinion of reading has changed tremendously! I used to be very skeptical of what I read, but now I read all the time. Every time I now finish a book, I hunt and search for my next adventure." "My attitude toward reading has changed so much that it may be classified as developing a disease. I hated reading. I would not read anything (with the exception of plays) unless forced. After reading 18 books, I have developed a love for reading that I never thought that I would have. My spelling really has improved, even though I thought that was just crazy talk about reading helping you spell, it totally does. There are things I have discovered about myself that I never would have thought." Finally, advice from students to students taking the challenge next year: "DO THIS CHALLENGE!!! I promise you really will not regret it. It is going to seem like a lot, but read in the car, or on a plane, or the bus. You can even download books on your IPOD, for goodness sake. Reading is so much easier instead of sitting on the couch and texting people, saying you're bored." "Dont just shrug it off; actually give it a try. It will be worth it. You might actually enjoy it. If you don't, then at least you can say you tried." "At least try every genre. You will be surprised by the kinds of books you find interesting. Reading can give you a chance to escape from your world for a while and lose yourself in someone else's thoughts and visions. You may even realize things about yourself you never would have found if it wasn't for a certain book. It might even inspire YOU to write and share your ideas to the world. Reading is just a great outlet." Thank you, Westlake faculty and students for making this challenge so successful!

I'm excited to see how much more we can accomplish next year with the Fantastic Fifty Challenge.

That's right: 50 books in one school year.

Stay tuned.
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