Saturday, October 15, 2016

The 40 Book Reading Challenge for Writers

By Lacey Gunter

My son's fifth grade teacher has issued his class a 40 book reading challenge. The challenge seeks to encourage reluctant readers to increase their reading and to expose avid readers to a wide array of literature. In addition to the number of books that need to be read, the students are challenged to read a minimum number of books from 10 different genres. I think it is a wonderful idea. In fact I think it is so wonderful, I want to issue the same challenge to all our blog readers.

 According to the Pew Research Center Libraries Survey of US adults in 2015, 27% of American adults reported that they had not read even part of a book within the last year. Among all American adults, the average number of books read in the previous year was 12 and half of American adults had read 4 books or less in the previous year.

I am highly confident that all our Mommy Mommy Writers and Friends do not fit the typical American profile and are among the avid readers who are skewing the average much higher than the 50th percentile. So the reason I am issuing this 40 book reading challenge is not to increase you reading, but rather to expand your exposure to a wide variety of good writing.

A good way to improve your writing skills is to study how the experts do it, and to see many different examples of how it is done, especially when it is done well. So this is, in part, to improve your writing.  But don't just stick within your genre. Much can be learned by examining writing from other genres too.  So here is my 40 book reading challenge to you:

In the next twelve months read:

Number                 Genre
2 Poetry anthology
3 Traditional literature
5 Realistic fiction
3 Fantasy
2 Science fiction
2 Mystery
2 Romance
3 Informational
2 Biography or autobiography
3 Picture book
2 Translated from another language/culture
2 Religious or inspirational
5 Bestselling or award winning book in the genre you write 
5 Free Choice 

Feel free to adjust this list to better suit your needs, but remember this is supposed to be a challenge to stretch you beyond what you would normally do or choose. Of course, don't forget to learn and have fun along the way.

Happy reading!


  1. Fun idea! I'll have to convince myself to do it. :)

  2. This is a great idea. My goal for 2016 was to read 20 books and I've long since blown past that goal! I think I may be at at least 30 by now. :-)

    I love the idea of reading in different genres, though. Thanks!



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