Million word Challenge

I started a Million Word Challenge as a way to get my reluctant readers more involved in their Independent Reading in Stage B. I have added to my original library with both the Fiction and Non-fiction libraries, plus the X-tra Advanced library. I also have access to a Stage C library for added volumes. The Challenge has really focused our competitive juices and I'm happy to report that as of Dec. 22 my Read 180 class has read and passed book quizzes on 79 books!! for a 4 month word total of 619,303 word read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I may have to boost the million to 1.2 Mil!! The kids are totally into the challenge. We are challenging the Grade 8 Read 180 team for a 1 month reading challenge, Most Book Read wins! I went from 10 reluctant readers to 2 in 2 months! Its working here and my students are enjoying the books and recommending them to others! Have a Happy Holiday Season, See you in January!!

Posted on: December 22 2009
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  • I know exactly where to go.  I print so many reports to document for mid marking period, I know I saw the numbers.  Thanks!

    Hi Chris, I do something similar and chart my students' words read using the heading: Will You Be a Millionnaire? In addition, those who complete their independent reading points each marking period get a $1,000,000 bill bookmark (purchased from Highsmith.com). Debbie

    I agree with you, a gift of a book is a great way for our students to foster a love of reading.

    Wow, great idea!  I currently give a prize at the end of each marking period called the "star reader" in which the student who read the most books in each class (I teach 3 double period classes) gets a star reader book mark and a certificate and a pencil.   I also gave a free book award from the book club forms to the top 2 most improved SRI scores in each of my classes.  The kids were super excited to pick out a book. And others are excited about the next SRI to see if they can win the prize. I too am trying to create a culture in the classroom that books are great.  I will seriously think about adding in the million word challenge; it seems like a great way to grab attention.   Do you use books only, or do you add the words read from the read 180 software too?   - ashley

    I use both the books read and Read 180 software words read. There is a report in SAM that tell you their total words read for both, but I can never remember what it is. Reading Progress... maybe. I can check when I get back to school. Debbie


    I have only been counting the Reading Counts Book words. Each month we have an awards ceremony in class to give certificates for most books read, most words read. I also let the kids who have read the most books read choose a book that they want to read and I buy it for them. It keeps them reading and helps to instill in them the love of books that I have.


    I've been looking for a source for finding the number of words in a book that is not a Reading Counts book so I can put the number of words in when a quiz is created.  Do any of you have an easy way to find the number of words in a book?  That would help with word count.


    February 1, 2010 word count 927439!!!! I think we'll re-up for another million! 15 students @ 105 books = success!


    What an awesome idea! I, too, use classroom competition to motivate students to increase their academic achievement. Not only do I offer competition for the most books read but also for the most words read and the most segments completed. Students get excited, and they work really hard to finish as winners.


    It is my pleasure to announce that, due to the drive, desire, and hard work of my entire class, we have surpassed our goal of 1 million words read. Yanibel Marinez (lexile 587) completed her 14th Independent Reading book and passed her Reading Counts Book Test 10/10!! The total words read for our class as of Feb. 9, 2010 is 1,022,042!!! The class has decided to re-adjust their goal to ...2 Million Words! Kudos to Yanibel and all of her classmates on reading 106 books and continued success in their Race to 2 Million Words!

      I'm interested in how long it took you to reach the million mark?  I assume you began in September and then broke the 1 million mark this week? That's fantastic. Also, how did you structure your "challenge" with the 8th grade class? Is the 8th grade class responding to the challenge? Are you finding that inner-school challenge is motivating the entire group?  Thanks and good luck on breaking the two million mark!  I imagine it's a bit of a snowball effect: once they get rolling, their comprehension improves, and their speed accelerates! GO! GO! John  ♦♦♦♦  


    I gave the kids a while to get going and combined Sept-Oct Reading Counts test scores for our first "official" monthly count. Oct-Feb - 1,022,042 -106 books! The cross grade competition didn't materialize but I hope to try again before the end of the year. I've never had my students ASK to take the SRI but, they know they have been reading a lot and all have been getting better with their fluency, and now they want to see if their lexile has gone up! One gratifying side effect of their independent reading has been an increase in the quality of my students writing. So much better in the expository and summary writing in the rBook but especially across the subject areas, most notably on the big Soc. St project on Egyptian Gods. The kids are recognizing that they are using the strategies from Read 180 in their other classes. Another boost for them!

    Thanks Chris, this is most helpful. Good luck on two-million! John

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I love it! I can't wait to get it going in my class. I like the idea of challenging the grades... My 7th graders and my 8th graders... Excellent!!!


    End of Feb. count =1,119,718! 330,789 for the month! Great work by all my students and a great start to March, 4 book tests due this week!

    To find the number of words in a book I go to Scholastic Reading Counts under the Librarian heading of Scholastic.com.  I browse the e catalog.  I type in the title and usually find the # of words, Lexile level, SRC points value, GRL and grade level equivalent. It is rare for a title not to be found.  I have found this to be a great source of information on my free reading books. 

    I never thought about counting the words in a book. We use the points for the quizzes. Each week I put a "Top 10" and a "Points by Class" poster. The "Top 10" lists the 10 kids with the most points out of all my classes. The "Points by Class" allows the kids to compete with the other classes. I told them when they reached 100 points, we would have a wing party from Dodge's Chicken at lunchtime (I'm buying). I have one class with 98 points. Looks like I'm about to owe some hot wings. I also set goals for each student and class and give out awards when they reach 25, 50, and 100 points as a class and individually.


    March 17 - 1.4 Mil Standardized testing starts next week. We will have 1 hr classes for the next two weeks. I will work my rotations into a 2 day schedule and use the time for more in-depth conferencing. I am also considering a whole class reading of Seedfolks by Paul Fleishman. I use it to do more focused instruction on Character Analysis / Character traits. A good lead in to the workshop on Poe. When we are done we do a Character Quilt, yarning together the students drawings, poems and writing pieces relating to the characters. The kids enjoy the whole group reading, the artwork, and the poetry!

    Chris: Congratulations on your incredible progress for February! Keep up the great work!! -Laura


    I have tried all sorts of competitions and rewards to keep my students interest up. I see the free lunch still works wonders! lol I had a pizza party for passing 1 million words and the kids are back at work shooting for 2 mil but I think they want another pizza party as much as the 2 million words! Anything to keep then engaged!


    Last day of Independent Reading for March, Monthly total of words read - 341,359! Year to date words read - 1,531,417!!! Book Tests Passed - 145 AWESOME EFFORT by the Whole class!! Great work!!


    For a month with vacation, Doe walk-throughs, and some weather in the 80's my students haven't done too badly! April words read - 222, 843 YTD - 1,754,259 With a big push we can hit 2 mil before June 1 ! Great job to all my readers! Hope the non-readers will pick it up for the final push!

    Great Idea!!!! Can't wait to try the word challege next year.

    I'm going to try that also next year.  thank you!!

    I am intrigued by this idea. How do you keep track and what counts towards the total?

    I hope to implement the challenge next year.  I didn't get started on it and the end of the year is too crazy to even get into counting.  Now that I have done this for a year, I am looking forward to a very organized start in the fall.  Thanks for all of the great ideas!

    I def. want to start this next year. Please add to any ideas here. Appreciate it!

    Hello Debbie! I'm at the end of my first year in r180 and I like this idea of the challenge of the million words. Have you had any other ideas with challenges/goals for the students? Have you ever had a challenge with books read? Or have you done a challenge with points? I would love to hear from you! Jennifer

    Hi Jennifer!  Actually, I believe Chris was the initiator of the million word challenges, we've all borrowed the idea from him.  Although I keep a Success Wall that includes charts of my students' book points read, each student's words read, Success Zones completed (and passed), and Lexile improvement, I haven't held a challenge for top honors.  I would like to do more in this area next year - and all the suggestions and things other community members are doing is giving me some good ideas.  I like the idea of a challenge between classes (I have 3 classes) and between schools, which is what was mentioned above.  How about you?  Have you tried any challenges or competitions between your classes or students?  Debbie  


    I was with a teacher just yesterday and two of her READ 180 students had read over a million words this year.  It was so exciting! Dee


    I was with a teacher yesterday who had two students who each read over a million words this school year.  It was so exciting!

    I am going to total my classes total words read and show them the results.  What a great way to motivate them for the last two weeks.  I hope they want to reach the next big number. 


    Excellent, Ashley!! Congratulate your students from all the Read 180 kids in Rm. 312! Great work keeping them motivated and reading!


    I teach 1 section of Read 180, this challenge had 18 kids involved. With the exception of 2 of my newer students (2 mos) all have contributed! Those two are ready to test today! We're going on to see how far we can go!

    WOW! That is over 111,111 words per student!!! Awesome work! 


    I have Skype capabilities on my desktop but our school tele-conferenecing equipment doesn't seem to match with anyone elses (odd I know, but par for the course for my district) any cross school competition sound like fun!

    I'm sure we could handle Skype. Not sure what it is, yet, but we are pretty advanced in the technology area. Debbie

    Wow wow wonderful.  2 million.  I am definitely trying to beat that next year!!! How  any kids are included in the challenge?  


    AS of May 14, only 92,000 words from 2 MILLION!! Now the race is on, even my reluctant readers want to be the one that puts us over the top! They could surpass this goal by Wed!!!

    Outstanding work!  You should all be so proud.  Did you start counting in the beginning of the year?


    Congratulations! Great idea. Love the competition!!


    Today, we finally met our goal of 2 Million Words! My "handful" Kiana passed the quiz for "Stargirl" and put us over the top!!!! Congratulations, Kiana, and to my whole class for working so hard for so long! (Still have 5 to test tomorrow, they want to keep going! Yeah!!

    Maybe next year we can work in a friendly competition between schools and teachers on the community? I have 3 classes with 36 students total now (down about 12 from the beginning of the year). I'm game. Anyone interested? Also, does everyone have distance learning capabilities? If so, we could do a group "meeting" to announce the results and perhaps share books they especially liked? Debbie

    They made it!        My one class is at 965,000 words and a few students are ready to finish an audio book, I know we will make the mark; they are excited; they get to choose icecream, pizza, movie - whatever reward they want once we reach the goal!!


    May words read 393,074 YTD 2, 147, 334 and the kids are still reading!! Had 3 more sign up for the Red Sox Summer Reading Line-up , commit to read 9 books!! that makes 14 takers!

    I have three classes with over 3 million words read. Some of the students are very competitive, and it shows in their hard work to be number 1 in the class.


    The month of May was MCAS (state testing) month so we really only had a 3 week month. My kids read 147,000 + words. Those numbers come after 9 mos. of "prior practice" and are based on the increased lexile growth from Sept. to May. A 3 week Summer program, for students new to Read 180 may not show major growth. For "veteran" Read 180 students there may be measurable growth. When was their last SRI? Did it show improvement? There are so many variables....and on top of that, it depends on the student buy-in. SO many variables! Hope this helps.

    Our Summer School program is cut back to three weeks this year.  What is a good word goal for 3 weeks.  This is going to be hectic to organize Read 180 and get some results within a three week period.   thanks


    After 9 months, 18 students, 194 Reading Counts Quizzes, and 165 Books read [and comprehended], my classes final tally is.............2, 191,937!  Every student but one contributed to the final tally, (and the one who didn't actually finished his book, the FIRST in his life!!!)  Thanks for all the support and encouragement, new ideas and challenges for next year.  You all have been a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration!  I think my colleagues here are getting tired of hearing about you all! LOL   Thanks again!


    Three weeks of READ 180 is a short tme for setting goals for students, but it is still worth the try.  I agree with Chris' quite a lot depends upon the reading levels of your students.  Since it is summer and the kids don't have school in the afternoon, maybe you could set your reading goals based upon in-class and out-of-class reading.  Challenge the students to read a book a week and make the book one that you help them select.  In other words, you would help them each choose books that would challenge them individually.

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