The Sixth Annual Book-a-Day Challenge
New guests to our house always say the same thing when walking into our living room for the first time, “Wow, you’ve got a lot of books.” With thirteen bookcases—most double-stacked—and a custom built-in wall unit crammed with books, the principal decorations at the Miller Ranch are book spines.
Anna Quindlen said, “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” I can relate, Anna. We are clearly kin.
“Buy a Kindle. “ I divorced my Kindle in 2010 when it died on a long conference trip. I asked a friend to drive me to a bookstore, and I never went back.
“Get a library card. “ I have three, so does everyone in my house. We use them. We dedicated one shelf near the door for our library books, so they don’t get lost.
“You could read less and find another hobby.” Seriously? Anyone who knows me is laughing right now. Moving on.
You see, I have heard it all before—well-meaning folks who sense alarm when they learn that we own so many books.
“Don’t you have to dust them all?”
I enjoy dusting bookshelves. I feel like a dragon sifting through my hoard.
While I shove books into the hall closet before my mother comes over for dinner tonight, I know that our cascading bookshelves are at their yearly peak. We read less the last month of school. This has happened to us before… It will all change in a few weeks.
It’s been a long, cold, stormy winter, but summer is coming.
Book-a-Day is coming.
The yearly Book-a-Day challenge invites readers to reconnect with daily reading, discover new books and new reading friends, and celebrate our reading lives. During Book-a-Day, readers strive to read one book for every day of their summer vacations.
This challenge began as a public commitment to read all summer and share books with other readers. I’ve met many treasured friends during our yearly Book-a-Day events—including my dear friend, Colby Sharp. Mini Book-a-Day events pop up during spring and winter breaks, and literacy gurus like Teri Lesesne post book titles under the #bookaday hashtag all year.
That series you never finished? Those novels you borrowed from a friend two months ago? That sliding stack of picture books you need to read? Don’t you have books that are calling you, too? Please join me for the 6th annual Book-a-Day challenge.
The rules (more guidelines, really) are simple:
- You set your own start date and end date.
- Read one book per day for each day of summer vacation. This is an average, so if you read three books in one day (I know you’ve done this!) and none the next two, it still counts.
- Any book qualifies including picture books, nonfiction, professional books, audio books, graphic novels, poetry anthologies, or fiction—children’s, youth, or adult titles.
- Keep a list of the books you read and share them often via a social networking site like goodreads or Twitter (post using the #bookaday hashtag), a blog, or Facebook page. You do not have to post reviews, but you can if you wish. Titles will do.
I share my summer Book-a-Day plans with my students each year. I don’t expect them to read a book every day, but we discuss their commitments to read over the summer, too. One more chance to remind my students that their reading lives never end.
Without picture books and graphic novels, I will not average a book each day this summer. I never do. I have Goldfinch sitting on my nightstand, and I want to savor it. Book-a-Day is not a competition. It’s an opportunity to enjoy marvelous reading experiences and rededicate to daily reading. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what we read, or how much, or when. What matters is that we have fun and indulge in our favorite leisure activity—reading a lot of books!
I look forward to my summer adventures, both inside and outside of books.
Enjoy your summer! I hope our paths cross online or in person. I know we will have lots of books to share.
Let the reading begin!
Donalyn Miller is a fifth grade teacher at Peterson Elementary in Fort Worth, TX. She is the author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. Donalyn co-hosts the monthly Twitter chats, #titletalk (with Nerdy co-founder, Colby Sharp) and #bproots (with Teri Lesesne), and facilitates the Twitter reading initiative, #bookaday. You can find her on Twitter at @donalynbooks or under a pile of books somewhere, happily reading.
Yay for #bookaday! I am moving this summer and my last day of school is June 27 and my first day of work at my new school is July 20th, so a short summer for me. I am already thinking about what books have to come in my suitcase (and consequently which books I will start the school year with, as I likely will not have my books at the start of the year).
Wow. You’ve got a busy summer ahead of you. I am glad you are making some time for your reading life!
I love the idea of this. I had not been a reader for a long time and then was inspired by the Book Whisperer to become one again. I have piles of books waiting for me this summer. I don’t read very fast, however I read 3 in the week of Spring Break which was a record for me! Looking forward to sharing and following along with what everyone is reading!
I read in the mornings before our younger daughter wakes up; it’s a great way to start the day.
I have a stack of middle-grade books that I am bringing home to read. Also, The Book Whisperer. I will commit to an hour a day. Some days amy be longer if I can ignore the cat’s meow and the dog’s scratching on the door. Thanks for this challenge to make. me. do. it.
What middle grde books are you reading – always checking for new titles?
MG books I am reading: Ninja Librarians and Revolution. I strongly recommend Boys of Blur, A Snicker of Magic, and The Night Gardener, too.
I read and loved A Snicker of Magic. My list includes Silver People, Counting by 7s, Mark of the Dragonfly, Miss Emily, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Moon over Manifest, One Came Home, and The Year of Billy Miller. I probably need to hibernate to do all the reading I want to do.
I’m in! A Snicker of Magic, Savvy, Nightingale’s Nest, The Year of Billy Miller are a few on my list. Can’t wait!
Awesome, I can’t wait to get started! 24 more teaching days and I’m all over this!
I like this challenge and with kindle Paperwhite I have the opportunity to read in the evening and at night. I can’t survive without e-reader because this I have two, if one died I have other.
I’m in! Thank you for keeping the fires burning.
Always enjoy #bookaday as well as the Reading Smackdown! With #48HBC starting off the summer, though, I may run out of books. I go to the library almost daily in the summer but hardly ever buy a book: maybe I’ll have to get new titles and donate them to my library at school.
Finding The Nerdy Book Club has changed my reading life! Now it’s going to change my summer, for the better, of course. I’m totally in for this challenge. BTW, Loved A Snicker of Magic, Escape from Mr Lemoncello’s Library, One for the Murphys, P.S. Be Eleven, Seraphina’s Promise, Counting by 7s, and A Tangle of Knots. Currently reading I Lived on Butterfly Hill.
For me to make the challenge, I’ll need to read 64 books! I see a lot of picture books and graphic novels being read this summer! I have 3-4 books that are pretty long saved up for this summer, so I’ll have to pair them with short books in order to make my weekly total.
I have just finished my MLS degree after 3 years of online classes without a break. I have been wanting to move books from my ‘to read’ shelf to my ‘read’ shelf on Goodreads. This is the perfect challenge to help with that. It will mean a lot of picture books for me…always a pleasure! Thanks for the challenge!
I’m gonna do it this year. And I’m SO excited about it!!
Just love this:
Anna Quindlen said, “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”
…and all your other comments, Donalyn 🙂 Great stuff, for sure. In fact, I’m reading THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY and pretty much every room is lined with books in bookshelves, or stacked high all about. LOVE it 😀
Last year was my first Summer Book A Day. I was so proud of myself and enjoyed it so much. So, I’m in again this year. Will see you in Fauquier County, VA on July 29th. Want to go to dinner?
Reblogged this on The Best of It and commented:
Our summer is a bit of a mystery yet, but I plan to make both reading and writing as much a part of it as I can! Are you excited for a summer of reading? Do join in!
Yay!!!! Love #bookaday. I was introduced to this idea in 2010 when I met Donalyn at the LFA conference. My last day of school is June 27 and my first day is September 3, or roughly there about, so I will have plenty of reading opportunities. However I am the mother of a 22 month old and a 4 month old, so I plan on reading some great picture books with them. To date I have 52 books on my TBR list….
So relieved to see that averaging the book count across days is considered within the guidelines. I’ve seen the #bookaday tag around on twitter but didn’t know the details and felt so much pressure from it. It boggled me how some people could read these entire novels daily and still hold down jobs, have families, etc. I also didn’t account for the summer vacation factor because I don’t really get one. Anyway, this is awesome and maybe if I include a high ratio of picture books I can attempt to participate this summer.
Those were my thoughts, too, Josh! lol It typically takes me weeks to finish most novels ’cause I only read at night in bed unless it’s picture books or nonfiction. The picture books pile here from the library (typically 20-50 at any given time) and I usually read them in batches 🙂
I guess I am a literal person, but do I just have to read each day or complete a book each day? I am a slow reader and I do not buy books that are fast reads, so this may have adverse effects. Please put me at ease.
Making a commitment to read every day is more important than finishing a book every day.
Do you have some ideas for books in third grade? Good novel read alouds or must read picture books? One of my favorite reads of the year is, “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.” Looking forward to seeing you at the literacy conference in Grand Rapids!
I am teaching 4th grade next year and want to implement Book-a-Day early in the school year. With skill based instruction, students spend a lot of instructional time with targeted passages. However, there is so much power in reading a complete text! Going on a journey with your character, experiencing life’s victories and woes- that’s where a love for reading is born. I think with the right marketing this challenge could be a great adventure for my students! I’d love to hear from anyone who’s tried something like this in the classroom.
My 5th graders just completed the 40 book challenge a la Book Whisper. It works out to be about a book a week. No book was too small/short to count and if books were long they got credit for more than one book. Most succeeded. All read more than they ever had in the past school years. For my students, the only homework is READING so it is totally possible.
Book a Day is not a challenge I would give to students. I want them to savor books and spend time carefully reading and enjoying them. A book a week or so is more reasonable. Book a Day has always been an adult challenge.
Can’t wait! School isn’t over until June 19th, but I’m ready for a #bookaday weekend!
I plan to start as soon as school ends on June 28th. During spring break I had kids make suggestions as to what I should read. It forced me to read out of my comfort zone. I didn’t like them all but I did make some new book friends and got to know some of my readers better.
I love that you asked your students to contribute their ideas for books for you to read. What a wonderful connection!
This is a perfect post to read on Memorial Day Weekend. A little appetizer of summer reading #bookaday. Got Book Love for this weekend. Yay!
I’m excited to try this! I’m going to try for June-August, and I’m mostly wanting to catch up on books from my tbr list. Lots of picture books and poetry books. Thanks for the challenge!
Participated in #ShelfChallenge and this looks like the perfect follow-up. On my list to read are Alliance (v. 2 of the Paladin Prophecy), A Snicker of Magic, Handbook for Dragon Slayers and Five, Six, Seven, Nate!
My plan was to start #bookaday when school is out on June 19th but I read Laurie Halse Andereson’s wonderful new book The Impossible Knife of Memory on Saturday so I just kept going this week! Thanks so much for the challenge…my TBR pile is still enormous but I am enthusiastically making a dent each day now 🙂
I don’t know that I’ll achieve a book a day, but I plan to read a lot this summer. I set a goal of fifty books for 2014, and I’m way behind. Twenty-five to thirty this summer should put me in good shape. Yesterday was our faculty check-out day. Let the reading begin! First up, I Am Malala.
This was my first year posting to the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life in March and this will be my first summer taking on the book a day challenge- now that I know it can included shorter mentor text type books as well. I kicked the summer off with fun brain candy- Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. Feeling that I needed to try out one of the classics on the 5th grade list, I went onto Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and now, after the first week, I am happily laughing aloud to the Penderwicks. As soon as I figure out how to post to the book review section, I will write them up to share.
I think I am going to try this. School ends Monday for me and I just sprained both of my ankles (a week ago) and the perfect activity for hanging out on the porch with your feet up is reading. So sign me up!
School ended; then house guests came…loved having them but my summer “routine” really starts tomorrow…and so does #bookaday 🙂 Planning to go through August 1st…at least….
I don’t know how I missed this (this year and in the past)! I’m in… starting tomorrow!
Looks like fun. I’ll give it a try, but with company coming for parts of the summer, I may have to take some breaks.
One week into summer, my book-a-day is going strong. I am most of the way through Gods and Monsters, Revolution, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is the way I roll as a reader–several going from different genres to suit my moods. What I love most about this post, Donalyn, is that I can hear your voice in every word. I laughed out loud at the 5th paragraph for that very reason. Thanks for inspiring me and for having a voice I can savor in my head.
Thank you for your inspiration!
So I am running a little behind on my bookaday challenge. Graduate school reading is slowing me down. Love the idea and hope to keep it up all summer.
*Tip-toes quietly to seat as not to disturb the others* I’m tardy, no excuse note, but at least I showed up prepared. I have a lot of books on my list (and on my shelves… and in stacks on the floor… and all over my house). I look forward to vacation time for this very reason, more time to read. This is a awesome catalyst for any previously preoccupied bibliophile.
Any plans for a school-year Book-A-Day?
I have been doing this all year because it is such a great idea—I am on Goodreads and enter my books as Book a Day Nerdy Book Club:) Love this!
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I am definitely IN!!! Yesterday, last day of school with students. Today, closed up my classroom – well partly! Going back next week with two of my students from this year who are willing to help me rework my massive classroom library. I know it doesn’t rival Donalyn’s, but I do believe I am pushing close to 2,000 books in my classroom library! Ok anyway….I’m starting my book a day TODAY! Honestly, one full book a day (novels) will be a tough challenge, but I’m still making it my goal!! I love to read!