What I learnt from my first reading challenge

So, in August, I participated in my first tadoku (extensive reading) challenge. This is a brief update on what I learnt and why I am doing it again in October.

The aim of the challenge is to read and read and read (and record your reading) in a language that you are learning.The more you read, the more you win Points on the Internet, which is obviously awesome. On top of that, you learn the language. On top of that, you learn other things. Here are five things I learnt:

  1. The more you read, the easier it gets. – OK. Call me the Master of the Bloody Obvious. But this is important. Reading really gets a lot easier, and more importantly: It gets easier faster than you think. Or at least, faster than I thought.
  2. The easier it gets, the more you read. – Also rather obvious. But also rather cool. Reading more makes it easier, which makes you read even more. What a neat trick! But wait, why would I want to read more? Well, because …
  3. The “Points on the Internet” thing really works. – I really don’t know what it is, but this really works as a motivation for me. During the two weeks of the August challenge, I read 150 pages. In the month since the challenge ended, I only read 30. Granted, it has been a very busy month, but still, this is odd.

    Maybe it’s the competition aspect. I love competition. Now, when other people say they love competition, what they mean is: They love winning competitions. I don’t. I really like the competition itself, doing something at the same time as a whole lot of other people and seeing how you stack up (even if you don’t stack up well. There is something beautiful in just standing still and admiring those who are really, really good at something. Obviously, this is not a trait that helps in team sports. Which anyone who has ever played a team sport with me will know.)

    But I digress. Something is up with Points on the Internet, is all I’m saying. Let’s use it to our advantage!

  4. Any time is a good time for reading – All my life, I thought I knew that. I am a reader, I read all the time. Turns out, I wasn’t. There are a lot of other times for reading. At the bus stop. During lunch. During coffee. Instead of doing other stuff. Instead of sleeping. Instead of doing nothing. It is marvellous!
  5. Waiting for the bus is really not that bad – Well, this follows from point 4, doesn’t it? On behalf of all readers who just need more time, I would like to thank public transport for all their delays. Ever.

If you are curious about what you might learn from extensive reading, there is another challenge starting right now and going through October. I will certainly be there. Join me! There are books to read, languages to learn, Points on the Internet to win and buses to wait for!

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