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Class Information

Below are the date, time, location, and outline for this class.

The Top Ten Project

Taught by Rhonda Seamons


Day Time Location
Friday, August 2 11 a.m. Austin 105
Rhonda Seamons

Rhonda Seamons


Rhonda Seamons received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University; her MEd in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Education of the Gifted/Talented from Utah State University; and her EdD in Education Administration with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from Brigham Young University.

Seamons has been an avid genealogist since her teens and has presented at numerous conferences on the topic. She has undertaken studies on the reading preferences of the faculty at BYU-Idaho on two occasions and will review the findings in her workshop.

Seamons is the second child of Gary and Sharon Seamons. She is single and has no children of her own. However, all of her siblings have children, so she is an aunt many times over. Her nieces and nephews are now beginning to have children, which she finds fun.

She has taught at BYU-Idaho for 20 years and thoroughly enjoys working with the youth of the Church. In her spare time, she can usually be found doing genealogy, reading, traveling, writing, painting, or puttering with her family. She currently serves as a visiting teacher, indexing director, and temple ordinance worker.

Class Outline

In February 2007, a friend of mine named Lynette and I were browsing in Barnes and Noble (a favorite get-away) when we stumbled across a book called The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books. It was a compilation of 125 authors' lists of their top ten favorite books, edited by J. Peder Zane. We were fascinated—and we thought it would be fun to compile a "book of lists" of our colleagues' favorites.

Lynette and I subsequently wrote to many other BYU-Idaho faculty members, requesting that they provide us with lists, ranked, in order, of what they considered to be the ten greatest books they had read. We asked them not to include the scriptures (we all love them). Other than that, there were no limits. They could choose fiction or non-fiction, any work, any writer, and any time period.

Over the next three months, we received "top ten" lists from about 100 people. We tallied the data in all sorts of directions, arriving at a top top ten list, favorite authors, men's favorites, women's favorites, authors with the most works cited, and "one-hit wonders" (books appearing on only one person's list but in the top slot). It was a fun study, and I have used the data every semester in the classes I teach. Apparently, a number of local book clubs also use the website we created to select material to read each month!

This spring, when I was asked to speak on the topic of "great books" here at Education Week, I immediately called Lynette and asked if we could update the data. We contacted the original participants who were still on the faculty and a bunch of new faculty members that we thought might be interested. Once we had their replies, we crunched the numbers again.

This workshop will present the findings of both studies-focusing on the top top ten but also reviewing the men's and women's picks, favorite authors, most works cited, one-hit wonders, and even the top fifty!