We’re delighted to announce four new monthlong original content reading challenges for all our school and library partners to use during the fall and winter of 2022! Geared for readers in grades 3–5, our original content challenges each include 12 or 13 Short Stacks—short and snappy nonfiction stories on compelling and curriculum-aligned topics—and easy-to-use teaching materials to keep students reading and logging all year long.
Why We’re Building Up Our Content Challenges
Providing reading content in Beanstack is one more way that we’re working to streamline the reading challenge experience for busy students, teachers, media specialists and librarians. When we surveyed more than 400 educators at the end of 2021, 75% of respondents told us that content integrations in Beanstack would be extremely or very useful. In response, we rolled out our first original content reading challenges in March and April featuring factual, fun, and kid-friendly stories about a coast-to-coast reading road trip and a library learning adventure.
“These [Short Stacks] were great,” said Jessica Schneider, an elementary school media specialist in Broward County, Florida, after wrapping up their successful Love Your Library original content challenge in April. “They were short, they were appropriate, and they were interesting … It hooks them.”
Now, we’re growing our library of Beanstack Originals reading challenges to provide even more riveting original content for readers to access and log directly in reading list challenges. Students can easily open and devour diverse nonfiction reading materials from right within a Beanstack reading challenge on their mobile device, desktop, or tablet browser. Our software keeps track of their reading time and creates long-lasting reading habits with its smooth and rewarding logging process. And teachers can easily incorporate and expand on the Short Stacks’ themes using our short and prep-free lesson plans.
Fall '22 Short Stacks Up Close
First up in our new slate of original content challenges is “September: On This Day.” Students uncover fascinating scientific discoveries, cultural milestones, and other historical events that took place on each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of September through history. The September Short Stacks cover the history of Labor Day, the very first computer “bug,” the origins of television, the first female Supreme Court justice, and much more. Our educator materials build on the historical stories with exercises in creating timelines and writing research questions.
In October, readers peel back the spooky and scary stereotypes about nature’s most notorious creepy-crawly creatures and learn why they’re actually cool—and sometimes even cute—in “Creepy Crawlies” A spider as big as a human hand, slime-producing and bottom-feeding fish, and burrowing naked mole rats are just a few of the animals featured in Short Stacks that pair perfectly with the lead-up to Halloween. For deeper learning, teachers and librarians can easily incorporate interactive lessons about different animal habitats and food chains.
The following month, students dive into “November: On This Day” to discover more impactful and little-known historical events that helped shape the world as we know it. From the first international crew aboard the space station and the groundbreaking career of Shirley Chisholm to the scientific discoveries of Marie Curie and the first trans-Antarctic flight, students’ curiosity will grow with each Short Stack on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of November. The succinct suggested lesson plans expand on the readings and help develop students’ geography, research, and contextual language skills.
To close out the school year and bid adieu to 2022, readers learn about diverse winter holiday celebrations in December’s original content challenge, “Holidays Around the World.” A dozen Short Stacks tell the cultural significance and history of holidays from Peru, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, the Middle East, and more to expand students’ horizons and understanding. During classroom downtime or library periods, educators can incorporate fun and festive lessons that promote critical thinking and teamwork.
Reading Content for Every Reader
These Short Stacks and accompanying lessons touch on topics from science and technology to culture and literature, so there’s something to get every student hooked on reading. And paired with our fresh ebook challenge offerings and the new ability to link to your own reading content and resources within reading list challenges, our original content challenges help you create a centralized and motivational reading hub for all your readers. Not a Beanstack partner, but want to connect your community to our world-class content and challenges? Reach out today!