Readers who are looking to sharpen their reading skills will likely enjoy reading challenges. Even then, not everyone has the same reading comprehension or even interests to boot.
Whether you’re one of the most discerning readers out there or a beginner who’s trying to grow their collection, we have a good challenge for you. Here are 6 reading challenges for all readers that you will surely love to power through.
1. The A to Z Challenge
If you’re looking to (slowly) organize your bookshelves, one way you can do it is to take on the A to Z challenge. This simple challenge shouldn’t take too long to do and works well for those who want some variety in their reading. The A to Z challenge means reading 26 books total in a year, starting from A to Z.
The A to Z challenge works because of the sheer variety of choices that you have. It doesn’t limit you to any theme or genre, which makes it a breeze to read. The big challenge for this is the sheer volume, as 26 books translate to a little more than two books a month.
For young readers, this can take a while to do, especially if they’re focusing on classic books that take time to digest. For more advanced readers, this shouldn’t be too hard of a challenge. If you want to sprinkle a little more challenge on top of this challenge, you can set a specific theme or genre to limit the options you have.
2. The United Nations Challenge
The United Nations challenge is another great way to get you reading something different every day. The United Nations challenge encourages its readers to go through different types of literature from all over the world. These can be poems, books, prose, short stories, and more.
If you want to make it a habit to care for your eyes, this challenge can give you differing lengths and difficulty levels of literature and relieve eye fatigue. The challenge comes mostly from finding the appropriate literature for a country of choice. Other than that, the difficulty and variety entirely depend on you.
For beginner readers, the best configuration is to work with simpler works of writing from more prominent countries. Getting classics from each nation should give you a good idea of which literature you would want to read in the future. More advanced readers can opt for literature from lesser-known countries, as well as longer-form material.
3. The Read Harder Challenge
For those who are looking to expose themselves to a harder read, one of the best challenges you can take is the Read Harder challenge. The Read Harder challenge questions your preconceived notions of society and exposes you to material that you likely have not read before.
The Read Harder challenge is there to help shape the minds of people, especially those who live in echo chambers. This will help them understand other people’s plights, as well as know the stories of those ignored by society in general. While the challenge is designed for young minds, older and more experienced readers can also take part.
Read Harder lays out several topics and themes, usually surrounding topics of harder discussion within society. These include topics of social justice, anti-racism, LGBTQ+ history, fat-positivity, and works by people of color. Depending on the skill level of the reader, the challenge can span an entire year, with between 12 to 24 tasks.
4. The Banned Books Challenge
The Banned Books challenge is one of the most controversial challenges in this list, mostly due to the content of the material. Every year, there are books listed as challenged and banned books from schools and universities, as tracked by the American Library Association.
The banned books include several classics from Anne Frank, Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and many more. There are also contemporary titles and other forms of literature like Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto and books from modern greats like Ta-Nehisi Coates and John Green.
Why are these banned books? Much like the Read Harder challenge, the books within ALA’s list have uncomfortable topics in them. For example, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is banned for its outdated language that uses coarse, racist language.
This challenge is mostly for more advanced readers, but younger minds should also participate, albeit with further discussion and context with more experienced readers. Many of the books, however, should be quite an easy read. The challenge can go at any length, with a recommended minimum of 12 books that qualify as banned or challenged.
5. The Calendar of Crime Challenge
For those who love crime-mystery novels, there’s nothing more enjoyable than a series of mystery novels as a challenge. The Calendar of Crime is an enjoyable challenge that entails reading 1 crime mystery book a month, up to 12 in one year.
This challenge should be easy enough for people to complete, especially with the prevalence of great mystery novels. It’s a fantastic challenge for readers of all skill levels and a good way to introduce the genre to readers who don’t have much experience in the genre.
If you want to tweak the difficulty of the challenge, there are several modifiers you can add to make it easier or harder. You can work towards classics, which include novels from Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Raymond Chandler. For those looking for a bigger challenge, why not go for crime-mystery books that are not from the US or Europe? Every country has one, with books from Russia, India, and even Southeast Asia. The flavor of these books will surely be familiar but much more diverse and unpredictable.
6. The Chunkster Books Challenge
The Chunkster Books challenge is exactly what it says on the tin. The challenge revolves around reading books that are classified as chunksters, having more than 450 pages per book. These can be fiction or non-fiction, from classics to YA books.
Most chunkster titles are quite hard to parse, so this can be a real challenge to those used to reading short stories and novellas. However, this doesn’t mean they’re boring! Titles like A Song of Ice and Fire, Dune, Gone with the Wind, Fellowship of the Ring, and Crime and Punishment.
The challenge comes from the sheer volume of pages that you have to read, with some books taking two months to complete. There’s no number goal that you have to reach, but if you can manage 6 to 12 within the year, that would be a good feat.
If you’re looking to mix it up, try to mix fiction and non-fiction books in your categories. While it can be entertaining to read A Song of Ice and Fire, non-fiction exposes you to a bigger variety of literature.
Reading challenges are some of the most enjoyable ways to expand your knowledge. These challenges help you explore new worlds, open your mind to new things, and make you face the uncomfortable truths of the world.
Are you ready for a new reading challenge? Choose one from our picks above and you’ll surely find a reading challenge that fits your interest and skill level. There’s always a piece of literature for every mind out there. Explore your horizons and go as deep as you can.