Classically Educating Disciples for Christ

Boni Libri Reading Program

Vision Statement:

Samuel Fuller School believes that the enjoyment of good books and quality writing and the development of sound reading skills are the first steps to embracing a love of learning.  We teach our students to read good books that help them grow in knowledge and wisdom and maturity, encouraging them to read in order to further their education. We teach them to read so that they can be involved in the “Great Conversation.” We desire that they be students of the word who appreciate great stories while developing a Christian worldview.  Most importantly we teach our children to read because we desire for them to emulate the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ. To this end, we spend considerable time studying great works of literature through our Classroom Literature Study and have established our Boni Libri and Reading Marathon independent reading programs all of which are designed to compel our students to read quality, age-appropriate works that are considered classics of the literary world.

“GOOD Books” Philosophy:

Through this required program, students will develop a love and appreciation of great books, those which we consider classics. A classic is defined as a work of literature, which has been read and enjoyed by a least three generations. Exceptions may be made for children’s books of acclaim, such as Newberry or Caldecott award winners or history-based works of fiction and non-fiction. Reading should be one of the most wonderful and enjoyable occupations in life. It is our job, as parents and teachers, to see that our children acquire not only the ability to read well but also acquire a taste for what is good and beautiful in literature.

Book selections should exhibit at least one of the following criteria:

  1. They must be historically significant.
  2. They must have literary value.
  3. They must be well-written.
  4. They must be well-known in the canon of classical literature.

Picture books should exhibit at least one of the following criteria:

  1. They should be good reading practice for beginners.
  2. They should contain no offensive, overtly ungodly behavior unless dealt with according to biblical principles.
  3. They should be filled with beautiful illustrations.
  4. They should be recognized as historically or culturally significant.

Classroom Literature Study:

Historically, men and women who have understood the times they live in have always concerned themselves with ideas; they have been familiar with the eternal questions, familiar with the usual answers, conversant with the long running debates. The record of this intellectual journey, sometimes referred to as “the great conversation,” is written down in the literature of the western world. The ability to read and understand the literature of our western heritage is a necessary and crucial part of a sound education. Reading requires an active, discriminating mind that is challenged to think, compare, and contrast. Our Classroom Literature Study seeks to help students improve fluency and comprehension by interacting with great literature, developing sound thinking skills, and expanding students’ vocabulary.

Boni Libri ~ “GOOD Books”:

Each student in Kindergarten-8th grade will be required to participate in our Boni Libri program. Kindergarten and 1st grade students will read or have read to them two books per term and will complete a weekly teacher-guided activity in class. Students in 2nd-8th grades will independently read one assigned book per term, participate in weekly teacher-guided class discussion about the book, and complete an in-class wrap-up activity at the end of the term. Reading assignment calendars and discussion questions will be provided by the classroom teacher at the beginning of each term (or each book for the younger students). Boni Libri reading, classroom discussion, and assignment completion will be included as part of the each student’s term grade.

Books Assigned by Grade


  • The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
  • The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
  • The Three Bears and Goldilocks by Paul Galdone
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone
  • The Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone
  • Henny Penny by Paul Galdone               

First Grade

  • One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  • The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett
  • Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash

Second Grade

  • Nate the Great and the Snowy Trail by Marjorie Sharmat
  • Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
  • Elmer and the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Third/Fourth Grade

  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
  • Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
  • Indian Captive by Lois Lenski

Fifth/Sixth Grade

  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster   
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Seventh/Eighth Grade

  • The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Reading Marathon:

In addition to the required Classroom Literature Study and Boni Libri reading, students can earn points for their City State teams and year-end recognition in our Reading Marathon.  Students who participate in this optional program must read at home throughout the school year (over and above class reading and Boni Libri) from the SFS Literature List or from titles approved by their literature teacher. Recognition is earned for the highest of three levels of consistent reading.

GOLD – earned with 600 minutes or more of reading in each and every month of the school year excluding September and June. This equates to approximately thirty minutes per school day or about two and half hours per week.

SILVER – earned with 500 minutes or more (but less than 600) of reading in each and every month of the school year excluding September and June.

BRONZE - earned for 300 minutes or more (but less than 500) of reading in each and every month of the school year excluding September and June.

A log of minutes shall be kept by the student on a Reading Marathon calendar in their daily folder and must be signed by a parent. Teachers shall also check the calendar and add their weekly signature. Students must hand these calendars in to their literature teacher at the end of every month in order to maintain eligibility for an award.  It is the responsibility of the student (and parent) to ensure that these calendars are signed and turned in on time. This optional program does not affect the student’s grade in any way. The student must select the books from the SFS Literature List or be approved by their literature teacher. Worthy titles will be added to the school Literature List as they come to the attention of the headmaster and curriculum committee.  


All students who complete the Reading Marathon requirements will be recognized at the Olympic Day Award Ceremony at the close of the school year. Please note that students who record reading minutes over and above the 600-minute gold level will receive additional points toward their City State team totals.