Saturday, December 4, 2010

Great ideas for schools #5: Name That Book

The Cypress-Fairbanks school district in Houston holds an annual contest that gets kids excited about reading, and got me excited, too: Name That Book.

The district has approximately 50 schools. Every year, students districtwide are challenged to read a fixed selection of 100 books by May. Then a group of students from each school competes, school vs. school, to answer questions about the books before a live studio audience (of parents).

For example, a Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman question might be “Who was Joe Shuster’s creative partner?” or “In what city was Superman created?”

I love this idea because it motivates kids not only to read but to read a lot, and it also challenges them to retain what they’ve read. Plus the event seems like it’d be quite lively to watch!

Something else I love about Name That Book is something I didn’t consider until a librarian mentioned it. Many school reading campaigns are aimed at reluctant readers. This one, however, is aimed at avid and higher-level readers, giving them incentive to read even more.

Lastly, there is a winner. It frustrates me when I hear of schools that have done away with competition so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Life is competition and to prepare for it, kids need to know that they will not always win.

Name that Book is in May. I’d buy a ticket for it if I could.