Empty the Shelves Challenge Day 3

During the month of April I have challenged my students to read every book in the E section of our library. Today was the third day of the challenge and the difference has already been very noticeable on our shelves.

On Day One we shelved everything normally as books were returned. These books had been checked out in March. Then we started to promote the challenge. And by ‘promote’ I mean the super-casual in-house promotion of, “hey kids who are here to check out books–did you know we have a reading challenge?”

I realize that signs would be good. Announcements would be good. Posters around the school? A cute video? All would be completely awesome.

So far, my assistant and I have managed word-of-mouth promotion. In its own way, this has been wonderful. After promoting the challenge to a few small groups of students individuals have said, “Oh! I want to tell my class!” Because both of us lead reading groups during the day we have taken the time to promote the challenge and given our groups time to read. One group took it upon themselves to tackle one shelf. In three days 6 second-grade boys emptied the shelf! They finished off all of the N and O books on this top shelf.

Every class that comes in gets the “We’re going to Empty the Shelves!” speech letting them know about the challenge and that they can check out an extra book if it has an E address on the spine label. They are super psyched about this! Several students have checked out all E books and have made sure to return them the next day to get more.

It’s really amazing to us how quickly there is a noticeable difference on our shelves. I think this challenge is perfect for a three-week month (next week is Book Fair and I don’t circulate books).

As for my own challenge of reading the jacket flaps and the first chapter of all of the K-L (and maybe M) books in the Fiction section…. well, I might have to start bringing a stack home because this week has been the definition of library insanity.

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