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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mattson

Walk a Mile Reading Challenge

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

Each school year, the reading specialists and I try to promote reading across our school through campaigns like One Book, One School or by celebrating students who read from our state library association’s recommended book list. This year, we were inspired to try something a little different thanks to Newsela’s A Mile in Our Shoes Program. Some of our teachers use Newsela and will be encouraged to check out their text sets, but for the most part, Newsela just inspired us to come up with a challenge around the same theme. I’d like to share it with all of you so that you can use or remix parts of it for your own school.

Walk a Mile…

A good book can do something special – it can transport its reader to another place, another time, a different experience. Stories, shared not only as memoirs and biographies, but also in fiction, can help us see perspectives we may not have experienced or considered before.

Please join us in a concerted effort to walk a mile in the shoes of others by diving into their stories feet first.

What is it?

Walk a Mile is an opportunity to build communities of readers at WVHS: in classrooms, through clubs and organizations, on athletic teams, with friends, teachers, and coworkers.

Each team’s goal is to read 5,280 minutes, the same number of feet in a mile, during the month of March.

The goal is to encourage empathy, perspective taking, and acceptance by prompting Warriors to read books, both fiction and non-fiction, about people who are different from themselves. By immersing ourselves in the stories of others, we can better understand the paths they choose to follow and experience what it means to Walk a Mile in My Shoes.

How did we promote Walk a Mile?

  1. All staff email two weeks before kickoff; another whole staff email one week before kickoff

  2. Colorful slides for teachers to print and hang and for admin to play on our announcement slideshows

  3. Student announcements for one week leading up to the event

  4. LOTS of personal conversations with our top readers (both teachers and students) who could help spread the word

  5. Huge displays in the hallways and the library.

What is the process for teams of readers?

After students or teachers register their teams through a link on our webpage, the team captain reports to the library to pick up a “swag bag” of materials to get the team started. This bag includes:

  1. A brochure full of important information

  2. A custom made “Walk a Mile” bookmark for each member of the team

  3. A raffle ticket for each team member that can be turned in when they check out a book

  4. Optional reading logs to help teams keep track of their minutes. Official minutes are turned in digitally, through a link on our website, by the team captain each Friday.

  5. Some candy….because, well…high school kids like to be fed 🙂

Teams are also encouraged to sign up for our Remind 101 news blast. I will be sending out reminders to turn in minutes, announcing raffle winners, and encouraging participants to keep reading!

What happens when the month is over?

That is a GREAT question, and one I am still trying to figure out. See, when an idea hits me, I just kind of run with it and let the details work themselves out as I go! Considering our final celebration is 6 weeks away, I feel like I have PLENTY of time to figure out what it will be. We definitely want to celebrate all of our teams that reach the goal, though.

In all honesty, I will likely be chatting with some of our top readers and teachers to gather input on a final celebration over the next two weeks. I imagine there will be food, activities, and discussion, but I am open to ideas if my readers have them!


Keep your eyes open for my reflection blog when all of this is said and done. Kickoff is a little over a week away, and I am getting pretty pumped to see where it all goes 🙂

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