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Northeast Times | August 10, 2022

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KISD Hillwood Middleschool Students and Staff

KISD Hillwood Middleschool Students and Staff

Hillwood Middle School students and staff are taking the 40-Book Challenge this year, encouraging each other to read as many books as they can.


HMS Librarian Kerri Harris says the eighth-graders who did it last year have hit the ground running, knowing exactly what to do from last year’s challenge. They know how to access the website and get to the form and the seventh graders are still in the early stages of figuring it out.


“I’m hoping that kids will see that when they pay attention to all of the books they read through their ELA classes, they’ll realize that they are actually readers. Most middle schoolers don’t see themselves this way,” Harris said. “They just read because they’re told to and they don’t ever look back at the volumes of words that they’ve interacted with. Becoming more aware of just how much they can accomplish when they try is important for any aspect of a middle schooler’s life – especially reading!”


Harris got the idea from Donalyn Miller’s book, The Book Whisperer. Miller used to teach with Harris in Keller ISD at South Keller Intermediate School, and Harris says that since Miller has written the book, she has skyrocketed to fame among English teachers and librarians for her ideas on encouraging choice in reading rather than assigning books to the entire class to read. Although it’s called the 40-Book Challenge, it’s really a challenge to read as many books as you can. Harris says the students are always amazed that they even reach 40 and then they keep reading to see how far beyond their goal they can go.


“Basically it’s a celebration of reading, meeting set goals, and working beyond what you ever thought you were capable of achieving,” Harris said. “And when we stack up the number of books that were read next to the student at the end of the year celebration, the looks on their faces are priceless.”


HMS Student who completed the book challenge   HMS Student who completed book challenge 


Pictured above: Students who completed the 40-Book Challenge during the 2018-19 school year went above and beyond the goal of 40 books – with one student reading 153 books!