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6-16-22 — Middle Schoolers Choose Reading Challenge Books for Next Year

June 16, 2022 ~ One hundred students representing the Olathe Public Schools middle schools met for every middle school librarian’s favorite day of the year: the Trail Challenge Selection Party. Trail Challenge is the middle schools’ flagship voluntary reading program where all students have the option to read from the same list of 16 books for the first three quarters of the school year.

“The program is intended to focus students’ reading on 16 selected titles, which are no more than 2 years old and cover a wide spectrum,” California Trail Middle School Library Media Specialist Anne Mateer said. “The program unifies our middle school students around quality literature.”

The middle schoolers chose next year’s list of books and were rewarded with a pizza lunch. Readers roamed the conference room looking at the books, reading summaries of the titles, and scanning QR codes to watch book trailers.

“While the 10 middle school library media specialists created a selection list from titles we most loved during our past year of reading, we know it is imperative to have student choice and voice for the final list of books for students to enjoy,” Mateer said. “We know this because of research done by Dr. Bill McBride where he says, ‘Students read more, understand more, and are more likely to continue reading when they have the opportunity to choose what they read.’”