April 2016

Warm-Up: Readathon for Busy People

Warm UpWork. Family. Housework. Significant others. Exercise. Sleep.

These are just a few of the excuses you may be making as to why you can’t participate in the readathon. 24 hours can seem like a lot of time to dedicate just to reading. How do people do it?

The truth is, sometimes it’s impossible. Even if you manage to rearrange your schedule and prepare everything beforehand, things still come up. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still readathon!

Of the five times I’ve participated in the readathon, I’ve only been able to completely clear my schedule once, many years ago. To fit the readathon between work, family, school, and other events, I’ve had to be creative in finding ways to participate. Today, I want to share some of the ways I’ve made the readathon work with my busy life.

Audiobooks are the number one resource I’ve found to combat a full schedule. They’re the best way to get some reading done without sacrificing the use of your hands and eyes. Dishes need washing*? Audiobooks. Have an hour and a half long commute to work*? Audiobooks. Training for a triathalon*? Audiobooks. You get the idea.

If you’re new to the audiobook world, I recommend choosing shorter, faster-paced stories that will hold your attention. And definitely check the reviews beforehand! A narrator can make or break an audiobook. Audible is a great place to see what’s popular and what others are saying.

Another word of caution: With very few exceptions, your progress will be slower with an audiobook than if you were reading it traditionally. Make sure you plan for this when setting your book goals. But hey, you just managed to clean your whole apartment from top to bottom* and still got some reading in! That counts as a win in my book.

* Real readathon audiobook experiences from the author.

If your day is packed with events and you only have small pockets of time to devote to reading, then perhaps graphic novels would be a good match for you. They’re generally pretty light on text, so they move quickly. The visual format also lends itself well to starting and stopping. If you don’t remember what just happened, a quick look at the illustrations will usually refresh your memory.

For truly bite-sized bits of story, manga can’t be beat! Most of these were originally released one chapter at a time in a different publication, so each chapter is pretty well self-contained. But be warned! They’re designed to keep you coming back for more, so you may not be able to stop!

Does even a chapter seem too time-consuming? No problem! Webcomics may be just what you need. Like many other comics, they’re published bit by bit, with the standard being one page at a time. Some pages are a part of a continuous story arc and others stand on their own. Read a single page, several pages, or binge on the archives for a couple of hours. Like other graphic formats, webcomics come in a wide variety of styles and genres, so don’t be afraid to search until you find something that works for you. No matter what, you’re still reading!

When you have a few available minutes, but don’t feel like reading, check out the mini-challenges! Mini-challenges are a great way to get in on the book-loving fun without feeling like you have to devote yourself to an entire book. The “mini” in mini-challenge means they’re usually doable in five or ten minutes. If you’re lucky, you might even win a prize! What’s not to love about that?

Another great use of a couple minutes is cheerleading. Whether you sign up as an official cheerleader or not, leaving a comment on a blog or replying to a tweet can really make a reader’s day. The best part is how easy it is! Smartphones have made social media more accessible than ever, so if you find yourself stuck in line at the store or just feeling burned out on all those audiobooks, take a minute to encourage other readers. They’ll definitely appreciate it.

A few other tips:

Don’t be afraid to sleep! If you’re like me and you have work during or soon after the readathon, it may be necessary to take a nap or sleep like normal to stay healthy and productive. Don’t worry; you won’t miss much. Your health comes first!

Don’t forget to take breaks! Exerting yourself too much can make the readathon less enjoyable. Sometimes you just need a little bit of time away from everything, and that’s okay.

Don’t compare yourself to others! Only you know your limits and your needs. Readathon in the way that’s best for you, not for someone else.

In the end, the readathon is really about people coming together over a shared love of books. If you can’t read for the whole 24 hours, that’s okay! It’s not a contest, nor are there strict rules on how to participate. Make the readathon work for you. Use some of the ideas listed above or forge your own path. The important thing is that you have fun.

No more excuses? Great! I’ll see you this weekend.

elizabeth kasedaThanks so much to Elizabeth Kaseda for these great tips! You can visit Elizabeth on Twitter @ElisabethKaseda or on her blog during readathon.

April 2016

Reading Rainbow Says, Time to Revisit Your First Bookish Love


Hello Fellow Readers!

Are you ready for 24 hours of reading? Do you have your stack of books ready and waiting? I know I do. But before we jump into the Readathon this Saturday, I want to talk to you a little bit about love. Book-love.

Do you remember the first moment (or the book, or the year) when you fell in love with reading? Some of you Readathonners may have come to it later in life, but I’m guessing that for most of us it happened in childhood. Maybe it was Dr. Seuss or Little Critter who was your first love, or it might have been Laura Ingalls or Harry Potter if you were a bit older. Whenever it happened, somewhere along the way you opened a book and within its pages you experienced something magical.

iconic RR picture

For many of us, that first flush of book-love was one of the most formative moments in our lives. Suddenly we were free in a universe full of wonder. We may have been poor, or shy, or unpopular, but with books we could be heroes, detectives, and dragon-riders. Through books we could travel the world, visit other planets, go back in time. As we here at Reading Rainbow like to say, with books you could “Go Anywhere, Be Anything!” Real life may have seemed boring and uninspired, but books taught us to look beyond the surface of life, and showed us that the world was actually full of wonder and possibility, if we only had the eyes to see it. We soon learned that being a book-lover made us different from other people; books woke us up.

This Saturday, I urge you to tap into that wonder and possibility once again. Find the first book (or books) that set you on the path to being book-lover and add it to your readathon pile. When the day starts to feel long, or if (heaven forbid!) you begin to feel burnt out on reading, grab your first bookish love and reawaken the young bookworm inside yourself. Wash the years from your grown-up eyes and let yourself be transported back in time (as books so often do) to commune with your younger self. Rediscover the wonder of that first flush of book-love that woke you up to the magic in everyday life.

If you are a parent in the process of raising young book-lovers this can be the perfect opportunity to read with your kids, to introduce them to a little piece of your childhood, and have them participate in their very first (hopefully of many) Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!

Reading Rainbow Book Love

I’ll be revisiting two of my first bookish loves: The Berenstain Bears and The Girl with the Silver Eyes. What were your first bookish loves? Comment or send us a tweet at @ReadingRainbow. We want to know what you’re reading, and we’ll be cheering you on the whole way!

And if you need a little help going back to childhood, we have just the thing:

Happy Reading!


Jenni-Headshot-2About Reading Rainbow: For 30 years, Reading Rainbow has been inspiring children to read, first with the award-winning PBS TV show and now with Skybrary, a digital library of quality children’s books and video field trips, available online or on select devices, with subscriptions available for families or for schools. Try Reading Rainbow Skybrary FREE, or learn more about all of Reading Rainbow’s Digital products at www.readingrainbow.com

As the Reading Rainbow Mom, Jenni Buchanan enjoys encouraging readers of ALL ages to believe that they can “go anywhere, be anything.” See more of Jenni’s blogs and tips for parents about children’s books and reading on the Reading Rainbow Blog, or follow her on Twitter at @JenniBuchanan.