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Gamify Your Reading With This Readathon Board Game!

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is an event that started in 2007 and has been gaining steam ever since. It’s something I look forward to every October and April; an excuse to set everything else aside and just concentrate on reading for a day. I’ve been participating for nine years now, and it’s always a highlight of my year. Not everyone can book an entire day off for reading, but there’s no need to: the idea is to read when you can, whether that’s sneaking a few pages over lunch or trying to stay up the full 24 hours. Participation runs the gamut from casual to extreme marathon readers!

The readathon was started by Dewey from the book blog The Hidden Side of a Leaf, but unfortunately, she passed away in 2008. Since then, it’s been renamed in her honor. From 2013 to April of 2020, it was hosted by Heather of My Capricious Life and Andi of Estella’s Revenge (a former Book Rioter!), and now the torch has been passed to Kate of Kate’s Book Nook and Gabby of Gabs About Books.

One of the things I love about Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is the sense of community. It starts at the same time around the world, and thousands of people participate. You can see readers cheer one another on and update through Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and any other available platform. It’s an international reading party! (And a celebration of snacks, of course. Those are a very important part of the festivities.)

As Gabby and Kate have taken over hosting, they’ve put their own spin on it. Throughout the day of the readathon, hosts cheer on participants every hour, but lately there have also been challenges to “warm up” before the readathon itself. Those can be mini readathons, reading sprints (read as much as you can in 20 minutes, for instance), “reverse readathons” that use the opposite time zone, and more.

The latest pre-readathon activity has been a board game the hosts have designed to get you warmed up for the main event:

The game begins now and runs until the end of the readathon, so you have the option to use your readathon pages to complete it. You can play by yourself or compete against another reader to see who can reach the finish line first! Here’s how it works:

  • Roll a die (you can Google “Roll Dice” to be provided an online one!).
  • Move your token to the appropriate square.
  • Follow the instructions on the square before rolling again.
  • Unless otherwise marked, you can read half a book to complete the square. So if it says “Read a contemporary,” you can read half of a contemporary novel before rolling again. (Or challenge yourself to play on hard mode by having to read the whole book to complete a square.)
  • If you land on a “Jump ahead” square, you have to complete the challenge before jumping ahead.
  • To win, make it to the end and read 500 pages!
  • You are entitled to one free roll if you don’t want to complete a square for any reason. (For example, you just did that challenge.)

I love the idea of a reading board game, especially when you can challenge your friends to a competition! This would pair nicely with some Zoom reading sprints and check-ins to brag about your progress. You can find out more about the board game on Dewey’s 14 Hour Readathon Goodreads page. You can also start a thread there to track your own progress through the game.

The next Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is April 24th! That gives you plenty of time to make some progress in the game, building a TBR stack, and stock up on snacks. If you’re looking to readathon right, brush up with these posts: