A reading challenge for picky young readers

As a kid, I wouldn’t touch food with coconut. Or onion. Or green peppers. Or mushrooms.

The list goes on.

Last weekend I cooked a dish that used red, green and orange peppers, plus onions.

Last weekend I cooked a dish that used red, green and orange peppers, plus onions.

I was a picky eater back then. Even though I still avoid dishes with mushrooms (I just can’t bring myself to eat a fungus), many of my tastes changed as I got older. Slowly, I began to sample food that had a few onions or bits of green pepper. To my surprise, I discovered I liked them. A lot. Now, very few dinners prepared in our kitchen don’t involve chopping onions or peppers.

Our tastes change as we mature. The same rule that applies to food applies to books, too. Our taste in book selection tends to change as we get older.

But for parents or teachers trying to expand a child’s literary horizon, a picky reader can be a challenge.

I know a young reader who almost exclusively digests graphic novels. Another is drawn to the fantasy genre … and little else. So how do we expand a reader’s taste in genres?

One answer could be a summer reading challenge.

Many public libraries offer summer reading challenges that award readers based on quantity. The problem with quantity-based challenges is they simply encourage picky readers to absorb more of their favorite books. (Not that reading more is a bad thing.)

But here’s a summer reading challenge that includes a little twist.

Reading Challenge

This challenge includes 30 books. A child can be challenged to find matches for all 30, or any number that best reflects their reading speed. While they can still aim for quantity, this challenge may divert them from their usual go-to reading material and find books in other sections of the library.

It also leaves some openings for parents, friends, and other family members to make recommendations or read together, plus urges young readers to sift through award-winning literature. (And I couldn’t resist adding a dash of Roald Dahl, because every young reader should have a bit of Roald in their literary diet.)

This challenge doesn’t have to be limited to picky readers. If you have a voracious reader at home or in your classroom who wants a new reading goal beyond quantity or Accelerated Reader points, here’s the perfect opportunity.

Hopefully it leads a reader to a new favorite.

  • Want to download and print a PDF of the challenge? Click here.
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2 Responses to A reading challenge for picky young readers

  1. Jennifer says:

    I really like this idea! The list is somewhat random, which makes it fun and kind of like a scavenger hunt, so they don’t even realize you’re trying to broaden their horizons 😉 I especially like the one about a book from the bottom shelf. I work in the library, and so many good books get overlooked simply because they end up on the bottom shelf and few people really look at them.

    Like

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this list. We love book scavenger hunts and many of these would inspire even the most reluctant reader!

    Like

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