#summerthrowdown: Year Three!


Guess who’s back?
Back again.
Throwdown’s back.
Tell a friend.
Guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?
(Na na na. . .)

Weeeeeeee’re baaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaack!

#summerthrowdown is back for its third year, and this year (as always) promises to be better than before.

Why? What could possibly make this year better?

You, of course!

You’re no doubt excited to read more than you did last year. And if you’re new to #summerthrowdown, then you’re definitely going to be all in, to prove to yourself the reading you can do. Right? Right. So. Let’s do this. If you’re new this year or if you’ve been around a while, make sure to read through the very few rules and regulations we’ve got here.

What is #summerthrowdown?

#summerthrowdown is a yearly summer reading challenge. We’ve tinkered with the setup a bit over the last couple years, and we think we’ve found something that works.

The first year, we pitted teachers against librarians to see who could read more. It was a huge success, with us reading 2873 books, for a unit rate of 17.8 books per participant. Pretty darn good! However, we didn’t really care for the idea of pitting these two champions of reading against each other. We should be celebrating this reading with each other, right?

Last year, we joined forces and threw down against ourselves. Everyone set a reading goal for the month of July, and we set out to beat the previous year’s total. And you know what? We did. We were even more successful last year, reading 3064 books, at a rate of 24.1 books per participant. We threw down against 2012, and we smoked ’em!

Who is this “we” you’re talking about? Are you just that full of yourself? Or. . .yourselves?

No, we’re not. I mean <ahem> I’m not. The we I’m talking about here is not the royal “we,” but rather the #summerthrowdown management team! The lovely Jillian Heise (my bonus sister), the esteemed Kathy Burnette, and the stellar Sherry Gick. Those links are their Twitter accounts, and you’ll want to be sure to follow them to get the full #summerthrowdown experience!

So I need to be on Twitter to do this?

No. You absolutely do not have to be on Twitter. However, Twitter, using the hashtag #summerthrowdown, will be our home base for the conversation as we read. The four moderators will be tweeting out statistics (for those of you who are motivated by those types of things), encouragements (for those of you who are encouraged by those types of things), and smack talk (I will largely be smack-talking Jillian as she struggles to keep up with the torrential pace I will no doubt be setting).

We also want the participants who are on Twitter to tweet the books they’ve been reading, encouragement to others, and, yes, perhaps a little smack talk towards their challenge partner. The best part of #summerthrowdown is the community it supports during July and the rest of the year. So please, come be a part!

Smack talk? Challenge partner?

Something we’re doing new this year (because it is our intention to mess with a good thing — to make it better, of course!) is having the participants call each other out on their reading goals. For example, I am going to challenge myself to read 25 books. I read 17 last year, and I think I can do more this year. BUT. I also am going to throw down against Jillian, and let her know that there is NO WAY she is going to read more than me. And she will no doubt do the same against me. This adds a friendly level of competition for those who may like that sort of thing.

How do I call someone out?

I’m glad you asked that, imaginary audience member. What I will be doing is recording a video for Jillian (and anyone else who clicks). In it, I will throw down the gauntlet and challenge her. We encourage you to do something similar. Sherry, on her blog, is going to provide us all with an image we can use and edit to call out our challenge partner.

Here’s the thing with this part, though. We need to remember: this is ALL ABOUT READING. We all love to read and want to encourage each other, and a little bit of friendly competition will help some of us with that. But. We need to be sure to keep it friendly. If someone doesn’t return your request to throw down, that’s perfectly okay. There may be a thousand different reasons why they don’t feel comfortable doing that, and whichever reason they have — even if they don’t give one — is perfectly valid and will be respected. If you do find someone to throw down with, keep the banter mostly positive. We don’t want to call people out for not reading — that’s called shaming and we will never do that with reading. We don’t want to make people feel inferior for not having read as much as we have — that devalues the reading they have done, which is worth celebrating, not berating. We want to give people a target. When you challenge someone, you’re putting the target on your back, saying, “Hey. Catch me.”

Of course, this aspect of #summerthrowdown is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. You do not need to have a challenge partner to participate. In fact, most of you probably won’t. And this is something that’s just between the two of you. We’re not going to have any place to formally register your individual throw downs. It’s just something some of you wanted, so we’re going to see how it goes.

Plus, there’s just no way I’m going to let Jillian beat me this year.

Okay. I’m in. How do I do this?

We have a spreadsheet set up for you to fill out. All you have to do is put in your name, your Twitter handle (if you have one), your reading goal, and then update your row every time you read a book. So if you read 2 books on July 2, you would put a “2” in the corresponding cell. Your totals are found at the very end of your row. The collective totals will be at the very top. Our goal, once again, is to beat last year’s total.

Please watch for your row — it’s possible that once we have people register, we will have to make some small changes that may accidentally involve re-ordering of the rows. Or we may find that it’ll be easier for everyone to find their row if we alphabetize them. Leave that to us. All you need to do is edit your row, wherever it may be.

Excellent. So, what counts as a book?

Is it a book?


Then it counts as a book.

No matter how long it is?

No matter how long it is.

So if I read a book that’s 750 pages long and my challenge partner reads 10 picture books, then she will beat me?

Well, that’s up to you. How do you want to frame your head-to-head throwdown? When I set my personal goal, I know I’m going to be reading mostly novels. When Jillian sets hers, she may know that she’s going to include a lot of picture books. So something I’m going to do when I challenge her is to admit that I might not read as many books as she does. However, I will assuredly read more pages. And that’s a way we will tweak our throw down so it allows for that. Feel free to do something similar.

Ultimately, though, for the spreadsheet, any book you read is a book. Plain and simple.

What if I’ve already started a book before July 1?

Great question. If you’re in the middle of a book when we begin #summerthrowdown, it will count as a  throwdown book IF you were less than halfway through as of midnight on July 1. If you were mostly done with the book, then it will not count for our purposes.

This post is getting long. Can I go now?

Yes, you may. Thanks for your help.

If you have any questions, please ask any of us on Twitter, comment here, or send a carrier pigeon. #summerthrowdown lasts for all of July, so get ready to get reading!



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