The Reading Bucket List: The Big Reveal!

If you would like to join us for a live Periscope reveal, it will all go down at 8:00 PM EST tonight! You can follow me @HopeKing on Periscope to join the conversation. 

Do you struggle to motivate your readers? Are you over reading logs, reading incentive programs, and having your students count minutes per night? Even though we know they aren't actually completing them! I can just see it's Sunday night before school on Monday and little Johnny sits down to write out his "reading" for the week. Momma or daddy signs away not even knowing whether or not he actually spent five minutes reading the entire week. Well, we have a solution for you!  Adam Dovico, my very dear {and brilliant} friend, and I are beyond ecstatic to introduce the Reading Bucket List. Here is a little insight to the method behind the madness of the bucket list.

As adults, we read what we enjoy. Why then are we forcing kids to all read the same text, at the same time, with the same assessments? That’s why Adam and I came up with the Reading Bucket List—an innovative approach to self-selected texts, engaging projects, and meaningful discussions.

First and foremost, we wanted students to have choice in what they are reading! But we know as teachers that there needs to be some guidance in what we do, so that is why we created a list of 60 genres, both traditional and out-of-the-box, that students can select from. From historical fiction and autobiography to primary documents written before 1800 and comic books, there is a wide-range of texts that students can thumb through to reach their goal of 40 texts by the end of the year.

In addition to the reading, we wanted students to have the opportunity to creatively express what they have in their heads. As one fifth-grade student from North Carolina said, “I like reading, but I like being creative even more.” That is why students will create projects based on their reading from a “Project Menu.” The projects feature a wide-range of visual arts, music, performance, and writing.

In the end, we want students to love what they are reading and have a chance to talk and demonstrate what they are investing their time in. We are encouraging teachers to conference with the students once a week to talk about what they are reading. This also gives a chance for students to make text recommendations!  

The Reading Bucket List unit contains everything you need to introduce, establish, and perfect the bucket list in your room. Here is a look a few of the additional components of the unit. 

I have been holding daily groups with my students where we chat about their readings and share some of their favorite things about our text. We have also piloted this program in other schools, and the teachers have been raving about their students' level of motivation to read. Here is a picture of Adam holding a reading conference with a group in NC. 

And here is another snapshot of a student strategizing over which text she will read next. 

We've also created book suggestion cards to use when recommending texts for students. But this is just a starter! ;) 

The students will also be writing quotes from their favorite books in this journal. As other students are searching for the perfect titles, this journal might just serve as the inspiration they need. 

As students complete a text, they have recommendation cards in their hands and ready to go as they share their new found love of a book with their friends. 

Everything that you need to set-up and maintain student tracking and records is also included. 

I couldn't be any more pleased with how the bucket list has been working in my classroom. Many of my students have already completed 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9 texts. My parents are also a little in love with it as well. This text message the other night just made my teacher heart all kinds of happy. :) 

The Reviews Are In: 

Mrs. Nolan, "I love the reading genre list. Katy and I are both loving picking out different books to fit the genres."

Cindy Resendes: "I love being able to have real conversations about books with my students. They are bowing me away with the titles they are choosing. I thought it would be hard to get them to read and share their thoughts, but they are excited about the books they are choosing and diving into multiple genres that I know they would not have even known about, let alone actually read!! This is a great way to get my students reading and having conversations about their books."

If you are interested in purchasing the RBL for your classroom, you can grab it by clicking the picture below. It will be on sale for the next 24 hours! 


  1. Your periscope was great last night! Another teacher and my school and I both tuned in and can't wait to begin using this in our classrooms. Technology access in our district is pretty limited and most of our kids aren't at grade level yet so we will need to modify some assignments. We were wondering if you would be willing to share the font names that you used in the packet so we can create some of our own assignments to put in the notebooks while having it all look the same! Thanks!

  2. I am so excited to use this in my class! What are the pink and yellow pages that the students have when they are meeting with Adam?

  3. Do you use this instead of guided reading?

  4. Can your explanation video/periscope be posted again or on youtube?? Would LOVE to see it.
    K&C Love Grade 3