What is GEARS?
GEARS is Silverado’s campus-wide reading program. Each trimester students, faculty, and staff are challenged to read certain bestselling young adult novels.
How do I know what books to read?
Check out the book display in the library – OR – check the GEARS webpage on the Silverado website – OR – check the flyers posted around school.
Where do I get the books?
You can check them out from the school library or the public library. You can purchase the books from a bookstore or an on-line book store. You can also download books for your e-reader or phone.
How do I earn elective credit?
Read one of the selected books then complete one of the assignment choices (each book has a corresponding assignment sheet that you can pick up in the library). You will earn 1 elective credit for each book you read and complete the 3 assignments for, and you can earn up to 10 elective credits during your time at Silverado. All work must be turned in to Ms. Clark in the library. There are 3 things to do to get credit: for the book you read:
  1. keep a reading log as you read
  2. answer all the questions on the front of the assignment sheet
  3. carefully complete one of the projects listed on the assignment sheet for the book you read
If you have not completed all three parts of the assignment, you will not receive your credit, so follow the directions on the assignment sheet carefully!
What if I want to read a book that is not already on the approved list?
See Ms. Clark in the library to have the book approved and then check the GEARS page on the website for ideas for alternative projects, (see below) or come up with a project on your own! You will still need to do parts one and two of the regular assignment: keep a reading journal and answer the 10 comprehension questions. But be sure to get your book and project approved by Ms. Clark before you begin.
Where can I get more information?
In the Media Center.
How can I get a free GEARS t-shirt?
Read and complete three GEARS projects for credit and get a free t-shirt!
What books are already approved for GEARS?
Approved book list


GEARS Book Project Ideas
(If you have a book that you would like to read that isn’t on the approved list, show it to Ms. Clark to get it approved. Do the reading journal and the 10 comprehension questions on the General Assignment Sheet and then identify one of the following projects to do for the third part of your assignment.)

  • Letter exchange: Create a letter exchange between a character and the author or write a series of self-reflective letters from several characters on what the character learned about himself, others, and life over the course of the story.
  • Board Game:  Design a board game based your book. Include a board to play on (illustrated) and rules of the game.
  • Advocacy:  Tell all the reasons why something in your book should be so: why a character should be liked, why a character was at fault,  why a conflict exists, why the setting is right for the story.
  • Debate:  Identify a major issue in the book with two different sides or points of view. Create a chart with arguments for the pros and cons of the issue. Include at least 5 arguments on each side, expressed in two or three sentences.
  • Diary:  Pretending you are a character from the book, write a daily log, journal, or diary for a seven day period of the character’s life.
  • Add a chapter:  Using the same style as in the book, add another chapter.  This should be an episode which is believable in terms of what happened before.  The same characters with the same personalities should appear.
  • Be a Scientist:  Write a factual report on some scientific aspect of your book.  For instance, If your book is about a disease, research it and compare the information in the book to what you found in your research.
  • Letter to the Author:  Using correct form, write a letter to the author. Tell him/her how you liked the book and why or why not.  Tell him/her how you would have changed his/her book. Finish by giving them a suggestion for what his/her next book should be about.
  • Author Personality Portraits: Do some research on the author’s life and write a two-page analysis of how the writer’s life was reflected in his or her work.
  • Graphic novel: Identify 5 major events in the book. Re-write the book as a graphic novel using those 5 events. A graphic novel is an illustrated story using comic book-like illustrations. The illustrations can include thought bubbles (over the characters heads to show what they are thinking) and speech balloons (which contain the words the characters are saying out loud).
  • Create a childhood for a character: If your main character is a teenager or an adult, try to figure out what he or she would have been like as a child. Write the story of his or her childhood in such a way that shows why he or she is the way he or she is in the novel.
  • Title Acrostic: On a sheet of construction paper write the title of the book down the side of the paper. For each letter in the title, construct a sentence that begins with that letter and that tells something significant about the story (something about the theme, setting, values expressed, main characters, conflict, and final outcome).
  • Character Yearbook Entries: Imagine what four of the characters from your book looked like in their high school pictures. Cut out a picture of a person from a magazine to represent each character. Mount one picture per page with their names and under each picture place the following information which you will create: nickname of character; activities, hobbies, clubs, sports they participate in; class mock award such as “class clown,” “best looking,” “most likely to…”; quotation that shows something about the person and what is important to him or her; favorites such as colors and foods; a book or movie that has had a great impact on him or her; plans after high school.
  • File a Complaint: Adapt the persona of one of the characters who you feel was portrayed in a sexist, racist or unfair manner. Write up a complaint explaining what you feel was unjust in your portrayal and explain the actions you would like the author to take to remedy the biased portrayal.
  • Tangible or Intangible Gifts: Select a character and figure out what two or three things you believe your character most needs or wants. Draw or create a collage of cut-out pictures to represent these “gifts” and write to your character an explanation of why you picked these things out for him or her.
  • Talk to the Author: Write a letter to the author of the book explaining to him or her why you think he or she wrote the book and what he or she was trying to show through the book. Be sure to explain what you personally got out of the book. If the author is still alive, send the letter to the author via the publisher of the book.
  • Character Monologues: Select an event in the story that characters have different views on. Then write up two or three characters’ opinions of the same event in the form of monologues (one person talking to him or herself about the issue).
  • Dictionary: Select fifteen vocabulary words that are essential to the understanding of the book. Write the definition of each word (as it is used in the book), and explain why you picked each of the words you did (why is it important to the story?)
  • Name Analysis: Select at least 3 of the characters from the novel. Look up each of their names online to see the where the name comes from (its origin) and what each name means. Write all the meanings down and then write a paragraph for each character explaining in what ways the name suits the character and in what ways the name does not fit the character.
  • A Character’s Fears: One way we get to know characters is to think deeply about them and make inferences based on their action sand on what they say and others say about them. Through a person’s actions we can learn what they fear and what they want to avoid the most. Select two characters from your novel and write short essays on what you believe they fear the most and what evidence you used to come to this conclusion. Be sure to use quotes from the book to support your conclusions.
  • Draw a Scene: If you are artistic, think of an important scene and draw it the way you see it. Place the characters in the scene too and then figure out where you were in relation to the characters when you read the book. (Were you standing beside or behind one of the characters, watching them from a distance of looking down on them? Then write an explanation of why you drew the scene the way you did, and why you think you were where you were in the scene. What does your perspective on the scene tell you about how you related to the characters in the novel?
  • Detective Work: If a detective or police officer suddenly showed up in your novel, who or what would they be investigating? Write about what the detective is looking for, how he or she knew something was awry or needed investigating, and what was recommended.