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June 27, 2019

Book Beads!

This last year my grade level team wanted to switch things up, so we started a grade level 40 Book Challenge.  Our goal was to encourage kids to read multiple genres, then share them with us during our Reading Conferences.  I had read the Book Whisperer and it was important to me to give students some choice, but since they are 10 and 11 year olds I also wanted to give them some direction.  I gave the kids this sheet that outlined the different genres I wanted them to focus on.

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.  As they read their books, they kept this in their Classwork folder (in a sheet protector) so they could jot down the book titles and dates of completion.  About once a month I would pull out the pony beads and we would update their pipe cleaner with the completed book beads.  

Pipe cleaner?  Yep - a black pipe cleaner with a black pony bead twisted on the end to keep them from sliding off.  The ends of the pipe cleaner had an address label folded in half with their classroom number (since they would all start looking the same).  Each pipe cleaner could hold up to 30ish beads (they needed room at the end to twist the pipe cleaner back around the black bead to make a circle).  This was a quick, easy, and cheap method for the kids to view their book choices of the year.  I stored 5 pipe cleaners per mason jar, total of 6 jars, which really motivated the kids to keep reading throughout the year.  Plus it looked pretty. :)

The colors were added to the spines of my classroom library books via more address labels and a big box of markers.  The students helped me label the books as we were talking about them during our conferences.  During our Reading Conferences we would talk books, what they enjoyed, and I'd ask them some specific (to our unit) questions about their books.  Sometimes I would listen to them read - even big kids love having that one on one attention.  So the kids weren't rushing through their books, we had them write short (key word: SHORT) book recommendations/summaries on index cards that this year I hope to add them to the inside front covers of the books in my library.  

Okay - here's what I have in case anyone wants it:

Reward cards for students to take home

Hope this helps!


  1. Brilliant! I can't wait to implement this in our classroom!
    THank you!

  2. Love this! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love this idea. What did they do in 2nd Grade, did they have less genres?

    1. Hello, I didn't do the Book Beads in 2nd grade, just this last year in 5th. However when I did teach 2nd we had specific books genres that we wanted the kids to read so it probably could have worked too. Maybe start the year with just fiction vs. nonfiction, and expand from there - different goals for each trimester/quarter?

  4. Thank you...your blog is full of inspiration and great ideas.


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