April 28

How to Win a Readathon


Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is almost here! Dewey’s runs twice a year, in April and October, and the challenge is pretty straightforward: read as many pages and/or books as you can within 24-hours. (Reading + marathon = readathon baby!)

There are similar readathons that happen throughout the year, too, like 24 in 48, which might be a bit more manageable with its flexible schedule since its guidelines are read 24 hours out of the 48 hours in a weekend. They don’t have to be consecutive, and you can mix up your time as it works best for you.

All right, but how do you “win” a readathon, or at least have a rocking good time? These are some of my best strategies for winning: meeting your goal.

Read Short Books

This probably goes without saying, but the shorter the books you read the more likely you are to rack up some Reads. There are many lists out there of short books, including a compilation of 21 recommended short books across seven genres on the Dewey’s homepage. And if you’re looking for just YA titles, the Wall of Books has more recommendations for short YA novels than you can shake a stick at. Some of my personal favorite short reads are If I Stay by Gayle Forman (201 pages); Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (208 pages); Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt; and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (213 pages).

Read Graphic Novels and Comic Books

I’m a graphic novel groupie and perhaps nowhere is a short graphic novel or comic book (I’m going to use those terms interchangeably here) needed more than for a 24 hour readathon. Mix up your reading list for the readathon and slip some comics in there to break things up. At a certain point, your eyes are going to want a break from reading text (unimaginable, I know, but trust me on this one!). A vibrant, visually thrilling graphic novel can breakup prose fatigue. Or you might want to start out with a graphic novel or two to get some momentum early on. If you’re looking for some graphic novel suggestions, take a look at my list of recommended dystopian and post-apocalyptic comics and graphic novels. Other comics I recommend to read during a readathon include Skim, a graphic novel by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (143 pages); Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (120 pages); Lumberjanes, Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holly by Noelle Stevenson (128 pages); and In Real Life by Cory Doctorow (175 pages).

Finish Some Books You’re Already Reading

With a readathon, sometimes it’s hard to pin down what the rules are… if you’re already reading a book and you finish it during the readathon, is that cheating? The short answer: No! It’s actually probably better if you have one book already going. You know the story, the characters, the plot… and seeing them through to the end will give you some momentum and wrap up some unfinished business. Try to use books you are already reading and enjoying. Attempting to polish off the last 200 pages of a book you are only half in love with (if at all) can take the fun out of what should be a joyous day of reading and accomplishments. If you can, I’d recommend having one or two books already going that you would love to finish on the readathon day. Not only will you have the satisfaction of completing a book you already love, you can add one or two books to your tally for the day.

Interact with the Community

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon started with book bloggers, but you don’t need to have a blog to participate. Just sign up on the Dewey website and follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #readathon. The team gives out door prizes, and the level of community is fun. The best thing about Dewey’s is it’s not really a competition with anyone else, it’s your own self challenge. Shouting out how many books you’ve read adds to the readathon community’s list. Anything you can finish, whether it’s pages, chapters, or multiple books, adds to the spirit of fun and a celebration of the best international hobby in the world: reading. Find a friend or two to read along for the day. Stock up on easy-to-make food and pick a cozy place to settle in with a good book, or two, or three!

Happy reading trails wherever they lead.


readathon, young adult fiction

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