By Jenn Baldwin

Summer break is a perfect way for school staff to relax and rejuvenate. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the pages of a book. The Reading Circle Committee members would like to challenge you to read more this summer than you did last summer. Book format (audiobook, ebook or print), targeted audience (children, middle grade, young adult, adult or professional), genre (graphic novel, historical, mystery, poetry or romance), or classification (non-fiction or fiction) does not matter.  Here are some ideas to help motivate you to complete our challenge:

• Visit a nearby public library and register for their summer reading program. This year’s theme is Ocean of Possibilities.

• Read a book from the 2022-2023 Missouri Reader Award lists, which will be voted on by Missouri students next spring. Books that made the final lists of nominees may be found at

• Participate in the 14th annual #bookaday challenge on social media. This challenge, originally created by Donalyn Miller, connects educators and reading enthusiasts. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to read, on average, one book a day throughout summer vacation.

• Find a journal, magazine, newspaper, or website that you enjoy. The definition of reading does not mean it always has to be a book!


Summer break is also a wonderful way for educators to prepare for their students’ return in the fall. Make it a goal to foster a reading culture in your classroom. Here are some ideas:

• Ask students to log the books they read so that they can work towards the goal of attaining a Reading Circle certificate. Requirements for total amount of books read are

– 20 books for Pre K-2

– 16 books for grades 3-6

– 14 books for grades 7-12


Free downloads of a log sheet, as well as a signed certificate are available at Don’t forget that students who earn certificates for five (not necessarily consecutive) years are issued lifetime membership certificates.

• Promote the 2022-2023 Missouri Reader Award lists (linked earlier in the article) with your students so that they can vote later in the school year. Students qualify to vote by reading:

– A minimum of 6 Show Me (picture books geared to grades K-3) nominees

– A minimum of 4 Mark Twain (chapter books geared to grades 4-6) or Truman (middle grade books geared to grades 6-8) nominees

– A minimum of 2 Gateway (young adult books geared to grades 9-12) nominees


• Participate in the #classroombookaday challenge, originally created by Jillian Heise (modeled after Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday challenge). This challenge is to read aloud, on average, one book a day throughout the school year.

• Challenge students to read a minimum of 1 Million Words or 1 Million Minutes this school year. An additional reading initiative is 100 Books Before Graduation (similar to the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative).

• Have students explore various genres by completing a choice bingo card or calendar of reading activities each month/quarter of the school year.

• Come up with a class or schoolwide reading activity. Some ideas include:

– Creating a paper chain that grows with each book that is read.

– Count each book read as a mile on an epic “Reading Road Trip.” Students could visit all 48 contiguous states in just under 6,500 miles. For an even bigger challenge, have students travel approximately 13,300 miles – enough to visit the capital cities of the 48 contiguous states.

– Host a One School, One Book literacy event after everyone in the building reads the same book.   

• Plan activities around various literary events. Use the 2022 literary calendar at for ideas.