I’m no stranger to reading a vast amount in a short amount of time. To get the best out of a readathon or reading challenge, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Hopefully, these readathon hacks can help you meet your goals!
Pick your reading material wisely. If your goal is pages read, maybe don’t choose the book with 800+ pages or tiny print. If you know you fly through science fiction, but you read contemporary books slower, indulge your passion for sci-fi. I know my reading speed is about 100 pages per hour, if I’m enjoying my reading. For reading challenges, I tend to choose books that range from 350–500 pages.
If you’ve got a challenge you are doing with friends or on social media, it can be helpful to plan your reading ahead of time. I like to pull books from my own shelf aside first, then assess how many books I should pick up from the library to fill in the gaps. While I’m not super strict about which books I read when, it’s nice to have a general idea of what I’m going to be reading.
I like to read in 30-minute sessions. This may not be your style, and that’s okay. To avoid the glazed donut eye look, make sure you are taking occasional breaks to stretch, get a snack or a drink, and maybe go outside for a quick stroll. Avoid the temptation to pick up your phone during reading breaks. Your eyes need a rest! If you wear contacts, you may want to take them out earlier than normal if you’ve been reading all day.
I know, we bookworms love our teas and lattes and Instagram-worthy beverages, but drinking a ton of caffeine while on a reading challenge can seriously affect your sleep and make you feel jittery. Try to stick to your normal caffeine levels, while enjoying some decaf versions of your favorite beverages to accompany your reading.
If you are okay with having multiple books going at a time, go for it! I usually am reading one physical book, one ebook, and am listening to an audiobook during the same period. Bring your ebook with you everywhere during your challenge, that way when you find yourself with just a few moments, you can read. Waiting rooms are a great place for ebooks. Listen to your audiobook in the car, while making dinner, and while finally folding the clean laundry that’s been sitting on your bed all week. During reading challenges, I usually forgo other forms of entertainment in favor of books.
Get out of your regular habitat. If you always read at home, you may find your mind wanders a bit more during readathons. Fill up a reusable water bottle and head to the park for some al fresco reading. Have a little cat nap while you’re at it.
Partner up with some of your friends for a flash book club during your readathon. Get a group chat going so you can share your thoughts about the day’s book. You may enjoy it so much, you may decide to keep the buddy read going with some more books from your challenge list.
That’s right! I said it! Skim. The art of speed reading sometimes requires a bit of skimming. There are some things you just don’t need to read to understand a book. You can train yourself to skip qualifiers, parts of a dialogue, and repetitive information. Don’t tell anyone I told you to skim, though.
I hope these tips help you with whatever your reading goals may be, whether you’ve got a big challenge planned or just want to fast forward on your yearly goals. Find more tips, tricks, and book ideas in our readathon archives!