60 Reading Challenge Ideas For Adults & Kids (2024 Free Tracker)

What is a book reading challenge?

60 Reading Challenge Ideas for adults and kids are a fun way to jumpstart new reading goals. Challenges get everyone reading!

Benefits of a Reading Challenge

Reading can reduce stress levels by as much as 68 percent in just 6 minutes.

book reading challenge ideas for kids and adults

Reading can also:

  • improve memory and brain power
  • help you sleep better
  • decrease stress
  • support self-improvement

You’ll feel better while reading more too.

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Reading Challenges For Adults

Read more or find variety with these amazing reading challenge ideas!

what are good reading challenges?

1. Books you own but have not read

Begin with the books on your bedside table or shelf. They’re waiting for you to dive in. Pick a few, set a deadline, and make time to read them.

2. Hobby books

Interested in a new hobby like knitting, golfing, or baking?

Pick one or two. Then, explore hobby books for more guidance. (Check out this great hobbies list for women for ideas).

3. Book Series

Few things beat reading a book you can’t put down. Except perhaps knowing there’s another book in the series!

Pick a series. Start with book 1, and read all of them! Possible suggestions:

4. Books by the same author

author letters

Discover a fantastic book? Explore other works by the same author—you’ll likely find more gems to enjoy.

Challenge yourself to read 3 books by the same author.

5. Pick a different literary genre

Do you only read one type of book? There is a lot more to choose from.

Read one book from many or all of the following popular genres:

  • Nonfiction
  • Biography
  • Historical fiction
  • Action and Adventure
  • Classics
  • Graphic Novel
  • Mystery
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Short Stories
  • Suspense
  • Memoir
  • Poetry
  • Self-Help
  • True Crime

6. Read the current bestsellers

Search the New York Times Bestseller’s list, set your goal, and read.

7. Read books to improve

Seeking to enhance your productivity or knowledge at work? Want to improve your culinary skills or communication abilities?

Expand your horizons with books that offer valuable insights and skills to enrich your life.

8. Travel through time

Select a captivating historical era and dive into multiple books set during that period.

9. Books about places you’re going to travel to

Prepare for your upcoming trip by reading about the destination beforehand. Dive into fiction books set in the location or explore its history and culture through informative reads.

10. Bucket list travel books

extreme and unique reading challenge ideas for adults

Explore your dream destinations through books that delve into their history, people, and culture. It’s like traveling without leaving home!

11. Books about historical events or a historical figure

History makes us aware of our past, gives us the opportunity to learn from past mistakes, and gives us the insight to live a better life. So, challenge yourself to brush up on history by picking an event or person that interests you.

12. Read books that are a movie/TV show

*One of the most popular reading challenge ideas!

Streaming services make watching movies and tv shows accessible and easy. Make a list of books that you would like to read before you watch the movie. Invite a friend or family member to read along with you for even more fun.

*Check out the Netflix book club that pairs with Netflix adaptations. And this list of books to start a reading habit has more great options.

13. Improve your side hustle

Enhance your side hustle by reading 2-3 books aimed at boosting your business skills.

14. Grow in Business and Leadership

Challenge yourself to learn how to lead more effectively and grow as an entrepreneur.

15. Learn about other cultures

Explore diverse cultures through reading for a broader perspective on food, language, and art, fostering understanding and breaking down barriers.

16. Classic Literature

You may vaguely remember reading these titles back in high school:

Choose classic literature to read now that it’s no longer required by your English teacher.

17. Reread a book you loved

I have a book on my bookshelf that I loved when I read it over 10 years ago. It has since become a movie and I have been wanting to reread that book before watching the movie.

Many of us have books that hold a special place in our hearts. Reread a handful of these for this reading challenge.

18. Pick an inspirational person

Choose someone you admire. Now, read a memoir or biography about them to learn how they became who they are.

19. Banned book list

When a book is “banned,” it means a book has been removed from school and/or public libraries because a group has objected to its content.

Many books that were historically banned became literary classics and are still taught. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee are two examples. (USA Today)

Explore a banned book list for intriguing finds. It might just spark your interest in this challenge even further.

20. Book club reading challenge

Book club: reading challenges ideas list

Choose a book to read at the same time as friends or family. Meet and discuss (snacks and wine encouraged).

Related Post: Fun Hobbies for Families To Do Together

21. Ask family and friends

Some of my favorite books are the ones recommended by close family and friends. I also frequently have others comb my bookshelves for new reads.

Pass a good book around to share with others and they will repay the favor.

22. Alternate between fiction and nonfiction

If you tend to stick to fiction, alternate between fiction and nonfiction for a period of time.

23. Read books that can help you get through hardships

Identify areas for improvement and read relevant books for guidance. Consider topics like finance, parenting, health, relationships, spirituality, and emotional well-being.

24. Look for traveling authors coming to your area

Read books by visiting authors. Recently, two friends shared their experiences meeting authors at events in our area—one at the library and another at a local bookstore.

25. Try a different format for your reading challenge ideas

If you typically read paperbacks, challenge yourself to read an e-book or to listen to an audiobook while in the car.

26. Read more about a polarizing issue

Think of an issue people feel strongly about. Now, read a book by someone who disagrees with your opinion. And another book by someone who agrees.

After finishing, is your opinion the same?

27. Ask on social media

Many of us have a diverse group of friends on social media. Ask for book recommendations to fill up your book challenge quota.

28. Let your significant other pick books for you

couple looking at books together

Spice up the reading challenge with your partner by selecting books for each other. Choose from the same stack or create completely different lists based on your preferences or needs.

Consider turning it into a friendly reading competition!

29. Read your significant other’s favorite book or author

When my husband and I first started dating, I read his favorite Hemingway novel. He was excited to discuss it with me, and I enjoyed connecting with him in this way.

30. A to Z reading challenge for adults

Pick books that take you through the alphabet from A to Z by title or author. This unique reading challenge idea will require more research, but will also help you get out of your comfort zone.

31. Read books from your area

Is there an author that lives in your state? Could you read books about the history of your area? Do a little research and compile a short list of books local to you.

32. 52 book challenge or 100 book challenge

If you want to dramatically increase the number of books you read, try one book a week for a year. Or try an even bigger 100-book challenge.

Need motivation? Bill Gates reads roughly 50 books per year. (Business Insider)

33. Read books trending online

Goodreads personalizes its recommendations based on what you’ve read, your book ratings, and what other readers are saying.

Book Riot compiles a list based on current trends and pop culture references.

34. Pick a few unknown books

Visit the library and pick up random books that look interesting but you have never heard of.

35. Books with a cool setting

My sister-in-law likes to read books set on the island of Nantucket. Now, it’s on her bucket list to visit there someday. Challenge yourself to pick an interesting setting and read from that list.

36. Read books with a literary award

For this book reading challenge, pick books that have won a literary award and are highly rated. Choose from one of these categories:

  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction
  • John Newbery Medal
  • National Book Award
  • Women’s Prize for Fiction

37. Read more diversely

Support diverse authors to gain exposure to new experiences and cultures, fostering empathy and broader perspectives.

38. Read from celebrity book club picks

If you are curious about the newest celebrity book club, it’s easy to follow on Instagram or online and get their current book choices. This is a great way to stay current with new authors and titles.

Popular celebrity book clubs include:

  • Oprah’s book club
  • Reece Witherspoon’s book club
  • The Today Show’s Read with Jenna book club
  • Good Morning America Book Club

39. Ask a librarian

Consult librarians for personalized reading recommendations and information on library programs such as adult reading programs and book discussion groups.

Book Reading Challenge Ideas For Kids

Becoming good readers takes practice. So, what are some reading challenges for kids?

girl with a book

These reading challenges cater to kids of all ages, promoting consistent reading habits and offering exposure to diverse texts. Join in with your child for a fun family activity!

40. Just right book challenge

Reading too hard of books frustrates kids and makes them not want to read.

A just-right book is a book that your child can decode and understand. How do you teach kids to pick a just-right book?

Use the 5 finger rule. Open a book to any page and have your child read it aloud. Count the number of words they do not know as they read.

  • 0-1 fingers: It’s too easy
  • 2-3 fingers: It’s just right
  • 4-5 fingers: It’s too hard (great for read-aloud instead!)

Follow up by asking a comprehension question about that page to see if they can discuss what they just read.

5-finger-rule: reading challenges for elementary kids

41. Read to learn about a topic

This past summer, I had my boys give me a list of topics they wanted to learn about. I narrowed down the list and checked out library books on those topics.

Expand this kid’s challenge by having your child create a project about what they learned. (This is a perfect summertime or holiday break challenge.)

42. Follow their interests challenge

Sometimes kids avoid reading because they are not interested in the topic. In fact, 4 out of 10 kids report that they need help finding books they like. (Scholastic)

statistics on reading books in 2024

Create a list of you child’s favorite topics and explore various genres related to them.

Ask your child’s teacher or the librarian to help you locate books when needed. Challenging your child to read 3-5 books on these topics may encourage continued reading beyond the initial goal.

43. Easy readers challenge

This challenge is for beginning readers. Pick out any easy reader books that seem fun to your child. Then, challenge them to read as many as they can.

44. A to Z kids reading challenge

Like the adult version above, have your child find book titles that start with each letter of the alphabet and read on their own or together.

45. Read aloud challenge

read aloud book reading challenge ideas for kids

Reading statistics show that 83% of children love or like being read to a lot. 86% of parents love it too. (Scholastic)

So, set a goal as a family for how many books to read aloud together for a certain timeframe.

*To make this easier, read a book aloud that has a movie too. Then, you can enjoy both together! >>

46. Book clubs for kids

Encourage your child to start a book club with a friend or group of friends. This is a great activity for any age, but older readers will especially like this challenge. (You can use these fun kids reading quotes during the meetings too!)

47. Caldecott Medal winner books

The Caldecott Medal is awarded to distinguished American picture books for children.

So, your kids will be reading high-quality books if they try this challenge.

Pro Tip: The school library may even have a section devoted to these medal winners.

48. Seasonal books challenge

Do you have a stack of Halloween books already? Christmas picture books? Or springtime picture books or summer book reads?

Create a challenge to read them all, or check out several new ones your child will enjoy reading.

Related: Free Printable Summer Reading Log & Tips

49. Book series challenge

kids reading book series for challenge

One of the easiest ways to get a child interested in reading is to get them hooked on a series.

As a teacher, I introduced reluctant readers to the first book of a series through read-alouds or book clubs. Often, they would continue reading the rest of the series independently and return for more recommendations.

50. Family member reading challenge

Does your child have a special relative that likes to read?

Encourage them to have a challenge together. Pick the same book, read it, and meet to discuss it. Zoom works as a great way to read together or discuss books with distant relatives.

51. Classic fairy tale challenge

Fairy tales involve interesting characters, magic, obstacles, and life lessons. Plus, they are entertaining to read. Pick a handful of fairy tales to read for this book challenge.

52. Poetry, mythology, and folktales

For this book reading challenge, pick from this variety of genres your child may not be as familiar with, and see what you think.

53. Nonfiction reading challenge ideas

Nonfiction: book reading challenges list for students: middle school and elementary

Is your child obsessed with The Titanic? Space? Trains? Challenge your child to read 5 nonfiction books on any topic. They will be bursting with new knowledge to share.

54. Biography challenge

Dive deeper into people your child is interested in. They will enjoy learning about another person’s life and a different genre of literature.

55. Books about animals

Have your reader choose between both nonfiction and fiction texts for this challenge. For example, read information about animals or read books with animals as the characters.

56. Books about a different place

Encourage your reader to explore different countries and regions of the world. Read information about the place and fiction books from the perspective of someone living there.

57. Comic books/graphic novels for elementary

comic book/graphic novel

Another great way to hook reluctant readers into good books is with comic books and graphic novels.

These stories are told using a combination of words and pictures, which appeals to a large audience of kids.

58. Read a theme reading challenge ideas

Pick a subject or theme that you want to discuss more with your child.

Choose a theme like courage, friendship, or kindness, and read several books together or have your older child explore chapter books that address this theme.

See here for 55 Best Books For Kids About Kindness >>

59. Ask your teacher or school librarian for a challenge

Your child’s teachers are the best resources to provide ideas about books. They are willing and excited to help your reader advance. They may also come up with some great reading challenge ideas geared toward your child.

60. Find a book list online for your child’s age

Find the best books for your child’s age by searching online. Here are helpful lists to get you started.

How do you plan a reading challenge?

First, here’s exactly how to get your custom reading challenge going!

1. Give your challenge a goal and a timeframe for reading.

How many books do you want to read? What is your timeframe? A month? 6 months? A year?

Do what works best for you. But start with a short timeframe for your first challenge if you are just getting back into reading.

how do you plan a reading challenge for kids and adults?

2. Select the books you will read.

Use the reading challenge ideas below to decide what books you will read. Check any out from the library that you do not already own. You can vary the format between e-books, audiobooks, and paperbacks depending on what is available.

3. Track your progress.

The Free Reading Challenge Tracker below will help you easily track the number of books you have read.

4. Have fun!

These reading challenge ideas should encourage you to read more, but not stress you out.

Keep it fun! If you don’t like a book you chose, abandon it and move on to something you will enjoy. (Yes, you have permission to do that!)

Get the FREE Reading Tracker Printable

Gain access to the resource library below to download your tracker!

Adults or kids can use the reading tracker. And families can also combine their book reading on the tracker. Don’t forget to celebrate when you reach your goal!

What’s Next?

Looking for more reasons to get back to reading? Read 65 Interesting Statistics About Reading 2023 (Success & Benefits). The benefits of reading will surprise you.

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Best Reading Challenges For Kids And Adults