BLOGS  >  AUGUST 27, 2020

Literacy and a Love of Reading During eLearning: Let Me Tell You About the 20 Book Challenge


In my school district we are offering in-person (brick and mortar) learning and eLearning at the same time, with in-person students and eLearners in the same class at the same time. It’s really making us rethink how we approach everything. One thing we know for sure that is going to work is our schoolwide 20 Book Challenge.

For the past four years we have run a schoolwide reading challenge, and it’s had a tremendous impact on our entire school. We challenge all our students, staff members, families and community members to read 20 different books from 20 different categories (example: a state award book, a graphic novel, a book recommended by a friend, etc.). While this idea was inspired by Donalyn Miller’s 40 Book Challenge, it is not the same as her initial intention. Once they’ve read the book, they jump over into Google Classroom and use a Google Form to log their book by responding to a prompt that makes them think about the story and then write a response. As the librarian for our school, I manage the program and read their responses and then give them credit for the book; or I send feedback on how to revise their response to demonstrate that they actually read the book.

The great thing about our program is that it’s already pretty digital anyway (other than students checking out print books), which makes it ideal for eLearning. As participants log their books in Google Classroom, I’m able to easily maintain everyone’s progress. Since we’ve been using this program for a few years to great success, it’s familiar to our patrons, easily adapts to our hybrid learning model for fall 2020 and continues to illustrate some great literacy growth.

Recently I had the opportunity to share our program through a webinar, “A Culture of Literacy: How the 20 Book Challenge Revolutionized Our School.” You can listen to the presentation on-demand if the book challenge sounds like something that might help your school promote literacy and the love of reading. I encourage you to check it out. If you have follow-up questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help in any way possible.

Carrie Friday
Media Specialist
Southwest Middle School
Palm Bay, Florida

Carrie Friday is the Media Specialist at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Florida, and a 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year Finalist for Brevard Public Schools. She isn't afraid to take risks and will do just about anything to encourage the love of literacy in students and teachers. She is one of the co-founders of the #swms20bookchallenge and a total YA author fangirl. She is a chapter leader of her school’s Project Lit Community chapter, a committee member for the Florida SSYRA 6-8 selection committee and on the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) nominations committee. She believes in innovation, collaboration and the power of really good books. You can connect with her through email at or on Twitter @CarrieFriday. You can also follow along with her adventures in the Media Center at

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