For a child who hates to read, asking him to read 40 books over the course of a year may seem like torture. However, educator Ava White
, the founder of the Ava White Academy
, has found that it actually instills a love of learning in some of her most resistant students.
As we discussed in part 1
of this 2 part blog series, Ava White runs a special school devoted to children who learn differently. Many times, they arrive at her doorstep after years of failing in a traditional school setting. They have become frustrated. Not only have they come to believe they can't learn to read, but their desire to read has also oftentimes diminished as well.
White knew she had to change this. Reading is such an important avenue for learning,
building vocabulary, and simply enjoying long time stories. That's when she heard about "The Book Whisperer"
by Donalyn Miller, a teacher who has had experiences much like White's. In her biography, Miller describes being a 6th grade teacher of students who were coming to her far behind grade level in reading. She claims to have never met a student whom she couldn't turn into an avid reader, so White decided to try this method out herself.
The 40 Book Challenge
That's what she calls it, and her challenge is for every single student to read 40 books within a year's time. The beauty is that White respects their learning style and
their interests. Students can ear read (audiobooks) or eye read (traditional reading), either way, as long as they are checking off books read. The point is not to complete worksheets or tests, but instead to foster a true love of learning and reading!
It's sometimes a challenge to find a genre that a student likes, so White switches up the genre each month. One month may be poetry, the next historic fiction, and the next science-based. She incorporates this reading into her classwork, not with essays, but with students dressing up like characters from the books they are reading. Learning becomes fun!
So, why are audiobooks allowed? Because White has seen, first hand, the difference it makes in a child's life.
"I've seen kids whoes reading comprehension level has zoomed ahead 3 years in just a short amount of time, all thanks to audiobooks. They do wonderful things for confidence, vocabulary, and just pure reading enjoyment."
When a child has been
reading below grade-level for years, of course she will think she doesn't love reading. Giving children audiobooks gives them access to a whole new world, a world of reading on or above their grade level. It makes learning fun once again.
Would you like to try the challenge yourself?
Download "The Book Whisperer"
from our Learning Ally audiobook library
. Once you're ready to start the challenge, we offer over 80,000 human-voiced audiobooks with many different genres, even textbooks.