Little girl engaged in reading a book

5 Fun Reading Challenges for Students of All Ages

Are you trying to boost reading engagement in your students, but not sure what to do? Organizing a reading competition is a great way to get students to read more. With fun prizes and bragging rights on the line, you’ll be surprised at how many books your students pick up. Instead of a competition with just one winner at the end, we suggest splitting the competition up into different smaller challenges, along with a final winner. In this post, we’ll go over the ins and outs of hosting a reading competition in your school with five fun and engaging reading challenges.

Classrooms vs. Grade Levels

The first decision you need to make is how you’re going to split up the competition. Some schools like to have each class compete among themselves and against each other, while other schools opt to treat all classes in each grade level the same. If you’re just doing a one-class competition, you may want to split students up into teams or have them compete as individuals…or both! It doesn’t matter how you choose to split it up, but just be consistent and make sure everyone knows the rules.

Reading Challenges

Now that you’ve split up the students and laid out the rules, it’s time to introduce the reading challenges. We suggest adapting the challenges to the abilities of each grade level to make the competition more relevant and achievable. Some of the most popular reading challenges you can include in your reading competition are:

Read # Books

This challenge can level up in increments, typically 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, and so on. Students will have plenty of chances to earn prizes as they plow through book after book, getting credit regardless of book length.

Read # Words

This challenge is just like the book challenge above, except students will total up the number of words they’ve read. For students who love a long chapter book, this challenge will suit them well. Set prize levels at increments like 100, 250, 500, 1000, and so on. Set lower levels for younger students and much higher levels for older grades.

Read (genre) Book

Encourage students to read outside of their comfort zone with this genre reading challenge. Provide a list of book genres that covers all the popular topics, plus a few of the less-explored ones. A sample genre list may look like:

  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Romance
  • Action
  • Poetry
  • Novel
  • Historical
  • Graphic Novel
  • Manga

Include a wide variety so that students can experience as many different genres as possible. Make sure the school library or classrooms have at least a few books in each genre.

Read (fiction/non-fiction) Book

Both fiction and non-fiction literature are important for students to read. Non-fiction gives them insight on real-world events while fiction lets their imaginations roam. Students can either get credit for reading any book in either category, or this challenge can be set up incrementally just like the number of books and number of words challenges.

Read Book by Author from (country name)

Encourage reading from different cultures by adding in this fun reading challenge. Students get credit for reading any one book by an author from a certain country. Keep in mind that some authors will likely write in languages other than English, so make sure there are some books from different countries with English translations. You can also give incremental awards for this reading challenge.

Awarding Challenge Prizes

Quick feedback is the best way to keep students motivated as they work through reading challenges, so keep a collection of small prizes in each classroom or in the school store that students can pick up as they reach each challenge milestone. Pens, pencils, highlighters, erasers, fidget toys, and art supplies are all great choices for these smaller prizes. However, you might want to do something a bit bigger for the students who read the most words in their class or grade level. Consider presenting these students with a formal award and bigger prizes for their win at a school event, like a School Literacy Night. This way, other students will see the reward for putting in the extra effort while parents get to see their children be recognized for their hard work.

Make Reading Fun for All Students, From Kindergarten to Graduation

Reading is a vital skill that will reap plentiful benefits throughout a child’s entire life. Set them up for success by nurturing and encouraging a love of reading from day one by making reading enjoyable. Reading challenges are a great way to get students interested in reading, expand their reading comfort zone, and let them win awesome prizes in front of their friends and families. Every student can read to their full potential with the right support, encouragement, and a whole lot of fun!

GEDDES supplies schools with affordable prizes that all students will love! From novelty toys to school supplies to desk pets and more, GEDDES has everything you need to make learning fun!

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