Reading challenges – so good for you!

Audry Fryer, a writer in Pennsylvania, is very clear about one thing, well, actually 22 things. And all of them focus on the idea that reading challenges are important in many ways.

Here is Number 10 on Audry’s list: Expand your imagination and creativity

The act of reading is all about transforming words into images in your mind. And, that takes imagination. Plus, the more you use your imagination, the more you flex your creative muscle. So, if you’re missing how imaginative and creative you were as a kid, maybe it’s time to pick up a book or join a reading challenge. 

On January 22, the Charles Town Library’s first reading challenge of the year will begin. “All the Feels” will help you learn about the history of emojis, explore the importance of emotions,  discover fun activities AND win prizes, as well.

You will read and log at least 900 minutes of reading books of your choice during the challenge. Earn fun emoji-themed badges for logging your reading, completing activities, and submitting book reviews.

Registered readers who complete the challenge will be entered into a drawing for some really great prizes from local businesses! And kids…when you earn a reading badge, stop by the Charles Town Library to snag something cool out of our treasure chest! 

We will soon be receiving Audry’s latest book, Until Next Sunday, which is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.) You can add that to your reading challenge and qualify for the many prizes being supplied by our local supporters, including The Hobbies Shop, River Riders, Boxwood Estate Winery, Bushel & Peck, Fuzzy Dog Books and Music and others.

Here is the complete list of Audry’s list of why it is important to participate in reading challenges.

1. A reading challenge helps you set reading goals 

Nine out of ten scientists agree that setting a reading goal leads to more reading. The tenth scientist was finishing the last chapter of a novel and couldn’t answer. Joking aside, reading challenges are great for creating a goal number of books you want to read. Even if you fall short of your goal, most likely, you’ll have read more than you would have without doing a challenge.

2. Discover different authors

Many reading challenges offer book lists and suggestions that of authors you may never have found otherwise. It’s easy to get stuck only reading from a few of your favorite authors. Discovering a new voice or book series can be exciting. 

3. Realize you like a new genre

In the same spirit as finding a new favorite author, book challenges are a fantastic way to branch out into new genres. You may have turned your nose up at science fiction only to be pleasantly shocked you’re mildly obsessed with time travel. 

4. Be a positive influence to inspire others to read

This article gets into exactly why reading is good for your body and soul. So, why not be a positive role model and inspire others to reap the benefits of reading? Plus, you can humble brag at parties about how many books you read, thanks to doing a reading challenge. Impressive!

5. Get inspired to learn more about yourself

The more books you read, especially as a result of a reading challenge, the more opportunities you get to learn more about your likes, views, and what you would do if presented with the same situation as a character. Whether through self-improvement books or identifying with the characters in a fiction novel, allow me to introduce you to you. Nice to meet you! 

6. For the entertainment value

Entertainment is a great escape. Add books to your mix of entertaining outlets, and you won’t regret it. Plus, read it first and then watch the movie or the series. Or, watch the show and then read it. Either way, books add that extra layer of backstory that makes all of it oh so very entertaining. 

7. Reduce your stress and anxiety 

Studies show that reading reduces stress and anxiety. Just thirty minutes of reading can lower your stress and have an advantageous effect on your body and mood. So why not do a reading challenge and make reading a regular habit? 

8. Get a better night’s sleep

Considering how reading reduces stress, a good book might be the soothing factor in helping you get a better night’s sleep. Remember that reading from an actual book is better than reading from a bright tablet or other device. And, it also makes sense that a dreamy work of literary fiction probably encourages falling asleep quicker than a suspenseful thriller.

9. Improve your mood and lessen depression

Books help us feel more connected to humanity, and that, in turn, can lessen depression symptoms. Whether it’s the escapism component of fiction or reading self-improvement nonfiction, reading can improve your mood. And, taking part in a reading challenge can have long-term benefits on your overall mental health.   

10. Expand your imagination and creativity

The act of reading is all about transforming words into images in your mind. And, that takes imagination. Plus, the more you use your imagination, the more you flex your creative muscle. So, if you’re missing how imaginative and creative you were as a kid, maybe it’s time to pick up a book or join a reading challenge. 

11. Build discipline and earn a feeling of accomplishment

Doing a reading challenge takes commitment and discipline. However, one of the best rewards is the feeling of accomplishment and the satisfaction of finishing a book. Think of how awesome you’ll feel when you reach your reading goal number.

12. Improve your focus and concentration

Reading requires focus and concentration. The more you practice this skill, the stronger it gets. So, keep going with your reading challenge and improve your ability to focus. Now that’s a win-win! 

13. Strengthen your brain and keep your brain young

Are you sensing a theme with these reasons to do a reading challenge? Yep, your brain will thank you. Reading activates your brain in many beneficial ways, which over time, strengthens your brain. And, reading helps to prevent cognitive decline, which keeps your brain young.

14. Build your vocabulary

Impress your friends. Complete crossword puzzles. Wow your boss with your fancy wordplay. These possible scenarios can all be possible with your newly expanded vocabulary from all the reading you’ve been doing since you started your reading challenge.  

15. Increase your knowledge

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, books offer a plentiful supply of new information. Just think how many unknown facts and interesting tidbits you’ll learn after completing a whole reading challenge!

16. Sharpen your memory

Remember how reading strengthens your brain? You remembered that because reading also sharpens your memory. Now, don’t forget to sign up for a reading challenge.

17. Gain better analytical thinking skills

When you read, you’re constantly analyzing what you read. As a result, you’ll improve your analytical thinking skills, as well.

18. Improve your communication skills 

With a more extensive vocabulary that comes from reading, you’ll discover your communication skills will also benefit. And, this includes both writing and speaking with more clarity.

19. Broaden your perspective on the world

Different settings and time periods can allow you to “see” the world without leaving your home. In this way, reading can help you gain a broader perspective on the world and expand your knowledge beyond your doorstep.

20. Develop empathy about other people’s lives

Books can give you an inside view of someone’s life. So rather than walking a day in someone’s shoes, read about it. Works of literary fiction have the most impact on developing empathy about other people’s lives. 

21. Extend your lifespan

A study found that a regular reading routine of a few hours a week can extend your lifespan. So read more good books and live longer to, well, read more good books. 

22. For the fun of it

Sure, I’ve listed plenty of research and studies arguing the point of why you should do a reading challenge. But really, it all boils down to doing it for the fun and enjoyment of it. If you love to read, make it part of your day, every day, whether through a challenge or out of habit, and have fun doing it!

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