A whole new year for books!

Aahhhhh! It’s nearly the start of a brand-new year! For many of us, that means new reading goals — Have you set that goal on Goodreads yet?! — and maybe a new reading challenge or two — or 63?!

I know several of us in the library and many of our library patrons participated in The Wichita Eagle‘s 2018 #READICT challenge. The 2019 challenge is looking pretty great as well, with categories including “A book from a genre you don’t normally read” and “A book recommended by a child or a teenager.”

But what if you are looking for a challenge that’s well, a little more challenging? Have no fear, there is apparently no shortage of reading challenges out in the Webosphere, and we’ve rounded up a few — and included links! — that we find intriguing, as well as one awesome clearinghouse that can hook you up with just about any kind of reading challenge you can imagine!

Reading challengesHere are our picks, in no particular order (except No. 1!):

  1. No. 1, of course, has to be The Wichita Eagle’s #READICT 2019 challenge, hosted by Suzanne Perez Tobias. Pick up a copy of the challenge here at our library or a bookmark with the challenge at any Wichita Public Library, register online on the WPL website, and make sure you join the #READICT Facebook group for lots more great reading suggestions!
  2. The Reading Women challenge from the ladies at the Reading Women podcast. This is a great challenge is you are looking to add female authors to your reading lists this year. Categories include a children’s book and a book about a woman athlete.
  3. The Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge is also one of my personal favorites. Not only does Anne Bogel provide you with a challenge sheet to record your books during the year, but she gives you adorable reading planning sheets!
  4. Book Riot has hosted a read harder challenge for a few years, and let me tell you, this challenge can really make you read harder! Categories include a book written in prison and a book published prior to Jan. 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads. There is also a group on Goodreads for this challenge which may be helpful in finding titles in some of the categories.
  5. Another popular reading challenge (I usually find it linked on Pinterest before I see it anywhere else) is the PopSugar reading challenge. This challenge is made up of 40 categories, or 50 if you do the advanced version! There is also a group on Goodreads you can join for this challenge.
  6. And if none of the above recommendations quite floats your boat, over at Girlxoxo.com, they’ve put together a master list of the reading challenges that can be found for 2019. Who knew there were so many?! Surely, there must be something for everyone there.

And tell us in the comments, do you participate in reading challenges? Which one is your favorite and why?

Parental Tools

There are many tools at the library that are helpful to parents. Working in circulation, we get many parents who ask for book suggestions for their children based on an AR (Accelerated Reader) or Lexile level.  These numbers can be confusing if you do not know what you are looking for. Our youth services librarians have worked hard to fix this problem.

These levels are determined using special testing by the school districts. These numbers and levels are an easy way for young readers to find books that they are able to read but also help advance their comprehension. Student’s scores take into account the difficulty of the material and the ability to understand the text.

Chelsea recently updated our Lexile level book lists along with our reader’s advisory books in the children’s department.  All the books on the lists are items that we have in our collection.  Each of the levels are broken down into 100 point increments. She has even placed the AR level conversions on the lists to help find books for that category as well. Lexile levels can be searched on our catalog as well.  Many books have them as part of their record.

There are several online tools that can be used to help parents find books that are appropriate for the their child as well.  www.Lexile.com/findabook has book lists with their scores, descriptions, similar books and even vocabulary words. Plus you can narrow down options to specific topics of interest.

Or does your child need to take AR tests?  Try visiting www.ARBookFind.com. This site has many books that have AR tests available. The site has the levels, points that can be earned, ratings, grade levels and quiz numbers. AR bookbags are locations where the child or parent can make a list of the books that they are interested and print it to take with them to the library. How neat is that?!

But everything does not have to be related to school scores or reading levels. What about if the book or movie is appropriate for your child? A resource that I have come to use often when parents ask about what age range certain items are targeted at is www.CommonSense.org. It has reviews on movies, books, TV shows and much more. There are ratings from parents and kids available as well as age ranges and scores based on things like violence, language and positive messages.

With school starting, things start to get a little hectic but one way to beat the stress of it is finding useful tools that make it easier. Check out these resources to help your kids achieve more in school and have fun doing it.