The forty book challenge
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The Forty Book Challenge. “Failure is not an option, so why talk about it?” - Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer. “You want me to what?”. You will be reading forty books this year. This includes books that we read together for class.

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The Forty Book Challenge

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The Forty Book Challenge

“Failure is not an option, so why talk about it?”

- Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer

“You want me to what?”

  • You will be reading forty books this year. This includes books that we read together for class.

  • You will be reading from a variety of genres in order to explore books you might not ordinarily read and to develop an understanding of literary elements, text features, and text structures.

  • NEW: You will be creating reports/projects throughout the year on books that you read.

The expectations

  • Poetry anthologies/novels: 2

  • Traditional literature: 2

  • Realistic fiction: 6

  • Historical fiction: 2

  • Fantasy: 4

  • Science fiction: 3

  • Mystery: 2

  • Informational: 5

  • Biography, autobiography, memoir: 2

  • Personal-choice chapter books: 11

Something REALLY important

  • Any book you read that is more than 350 pages long will count as TWO books.

The notes : Poetry Anthologies/Novels

  • Shortened form of writing

  • Contains figurative language – similes, metaphors, personification

  • Author’s expression of feelings, opinions

  • May follow a form/structure but does not have to

Poetry Anthologies

The Notes: Realistic fiction

  • Characters are every day people doing every day things

  • Setting is a modern-day realistic place

  • Plot consists of realistic events

  • May highlight social issues

Realistic fiction

The Notes: Historical Fiction

  • Takes place in the past (forty years before now is considered historical)

  • Plot (storyline) contains historical events

  • Characters may be historical figures

Historical Fiction

The Notes: Fantasy

  • Contains unrealistic or unworldly elements

  • Characters may have magical powers in addition to human qualities

  • Theme is often focused on good versus evil


The Notes: Science Fiction

  • Fantasy that involves or is based on scientific principles

  • Often set in the future

Science Fiction

The Notes: Mystery

  • Involves something unknown

  • Centered around person investigating wrongdoing or obtaining secret information


The Notes: Traditional Literature

  • Stories passed down for generations

  • Original stories usually passed down orally

  • Myths, legends, folk tales, fairy tales, nursery rhymes

  • Unknown origin

Traditional Literature

The Notes: Informational

  • Provides information on a topic

  • Nonfiction

  • Organized into sections or categories

  • No characters or settings


The Notes: Biography/Autobiography/Memoir

  • Biography – Story of someone’s life written by someone else

  • Autobiography – Story of someone’s life written by his/herself

  • Memoir – a short account of the author’s experiences written by him/herself


Planning for the Challenge

  • Now that you have taken notes, we are going to use a Multi-Flow Thinking Map to help us plan for the 40 Book Challenge.

  • On a blank piece of paper, draw the following map.


  • In the left hand boxes, answer the question: How will I achieve meeting the goals of the 40 book challenge?

  • In the right hand boxes, answer the question(s): What will be the results of my meeting this goal? What benefits are there to completing the challenge?

  • Within the frame of reference (outside black box), write 2 - 4 of your favorite books and/or genres.

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