Reading Contest





Here is the form to fill out!

Questions and Answers for Carden Families

Q. What is the Bookman’s Reading Challenge?

A. It is an annual reading contest for Kindergarten – 5th grade students sponsored by Bookman’s. Each year, only 75 schools in Arizona are selected to participate. The school who reads the most books (averaged per student) wins $15,000. The contest runs from January 17-April 15. If Carden wins, the owner of Bookman’s will come the school with great fanfare and deliver a giant check. This is a tremendous opportunity that Carden might not have again.

Q. How does the contest work?

A. Carden students in Kindergarten – 5th grade will read grade-appropriate books or have grade-appropriate books read to them (e.g. a 3rd grader can read books written at a 3rd grade or higher reading level). Then, note the books they read/read to them on their “Challenge” form.

Q. How can Carden win?

A. This contest is based on the of volume books read. Students have to read books at their grade level, but, a long book and a short book count the same. Reading level is based the number of syllables in words, NOT the total number of words.

Q. How do I know what the reading level of a book is?

A. Some beginning readers show the reading level on the cover. Also, here is a website where you can type in a book title and it will tell you the reading grade level is:
Here is a website where you can type in two sentences of text and find out the reading grade level (it is best to use two adjacent sentences from the middle of the book):

Q. How much should my child read?

A. Four books a day per student is the goal set by Carden’s PTO. The school that won last year averaged 3.3 books per student per day. The key is reading a lot of short books.

Q. If my child can’t write yet, can I fill out the reading form?

A. Yes, if a student is too young to write then a teacher or parent can fill out the specifics on the Challenge form (name, book title, grade, etc.) and the student can draw a picture
based on the book.

Q. Can a book be counted if a teacher, parent, tutor, etc. read it to the child?

A. Yes, but a Challenge form must be filled out for each child and the book needs to be
appropriate for the child’s reading level. For example, if a teacher reads a book to
his/her entire class, then each student needs to fill out a Challenge form about that
book. If the class cannot yet write, then the teacher can fill out one Challenge form for
the entire class and attach drawings from each child based on the book to that form.

Q. Can a story that is included in a textbook be counted as a separate book?

A. Yes, if the textbook contains the entire story/book. If the textbook only contains an excerpt from a story/book, it cannot be counted. Ms. Bennon found a book of short plays written at the 4th grade level. She verified with Bookman’s that each 3-5 page play in the volume counts as a separate book.

Q. Do comic books or graphic novels count?

A. Yes, if the comic book or graphic novel is appropriate for the child’s reading level.

Q. Can each chapter in a chapter book be counted as a separate book?

A. No. For the purposes of the contest, Carden students would be better served to read shorter books.

Q. Do audio books count?

A. No, unless the child is a special needs student and listening to audio books is a standard part of his or her curriculum.

Q. If a 5th grade student reads a picture book to a Kindergartner, can both
students count the book?

A. No. Only the Kindergartner can count the book. The 5th grader would need to read a
book at his or her own reading level to be able to count the book.

Q. How can I help?


  • Help your child identify short grade-appropriate books and keep an abundant supply of these books in your house (free and cheap sources–include the public library and Savers, where most children’s books are 69ยข and if you buy 4 you get the 5th one free).
  • If you find an especially great book (e.g. a volume of with several 3-page plays, such as Ms. Bennon found), please let one of the Carden PTO Reading Challenge Coordinators know (contact information below).
  • Volunteer to read to your child’s class during lunch (bring your best short book “finds”).
  • Keep books in the car so travel time can become reading time.
  • Read several short books to your child each night (even 5th graders might enjoy listening to a book).
  • Donate books, especially short one, to Carden; a single donated book can be read by many children (leave donated books with Miss Gardener in the office).

Q. Who can answer additional questions?

A. Carden PTO Reading Challenge Coordinators:
Crystale Cooper 797-1392
Adele Post