Read-A-Thon: What It Is & How to Prep For One

Whether you’re planning a read-a-thon event with friends or just want to cozy up and enjoy a read-a-thon on your own, here are some tips on how they work (and how to prepare)!

Read-a-thons don’t always have to be big events with tons of people. In fact, they can be just as fun to do by yourself, with your family, or with a couple of friends! It’s all about enjoying some uninterrupted reading time in a unique way.

Some community-based read-a-thon events focus on fundraising (which is wonderful!), but in this post, I’ll be discussing more personal, at-home types of read-a-thons. (But if you want to make your read-a-thon a fundraising event, go for it!).

how to plan a read-a-thon at home

What is a read-a-thon?

Read-a-thons come in many forms. Some are 24-hours straight, and others are just one night or a few hours in a row. I’ve even seen weekend-long read-a-thons.

They can be done on your own, or with others – either in the same room, or virtually (like through Bookstagram).

So, how do they work? It’s simple: you start by selecting a pile of books to read, keeping in mind that you’ll probably want to switch between genres to help keep your momentum going.

Then, you set aside a chunk of time – free of distractions – where you settle into a comfortable chair with everything you need (a book, a blanket, some tea or coffee, lots of snacks, and maybe your cat/dog/child). And be sure to leave your cell phone in another room, or out of reach!

grey reading chair set up for read-a-thon with white blanket, book, and mug of coffee

Why do a read-a-thon?

Read-a-thons are a great way to set aside some “official” reading time, and to read more books.

They’re also helpful for meeting your reading goals if you feel like you’ve been neglecting your reading habits!

One of the best things about read-a-thons is the community surrounding them. Book lovers share their own read-a-thon experiences on social media and blogs alongside you, and they can help cheer you on.

But if that sounds overwhelming to you, you can always start with your own personal read-a-thon where you get to dictate the length of time. There don’t even have to be any “rules” – it’s completely up to you!

How to Prepare for a Read-a-Thon

Here’s what I like to do when preparing for a read-a-thon:

Step 1: Determine Your Read-a-thon Plan

First off, decide how you want your read-a-thon to work.

How many hours will it last? Do you have a goal for a certain amount of pages read? Will you track your reading somewhere?

There are all good questions to consider (and write down the answers to) before you start, so you have an idea of how much time to set aside and what to prepare ahead of time.

(For example, if you’re planning to track your reading, you can use something like this bookmark reading tracker.)

Step 2: Pick Out Your Books / TBR List

With most read-a-thons, you’ll want to read for bursts of time without interruptions, so having your to-read pile picked out ahead of time helps!

I like to choose a mix of genres, so I can switch between books based on my reading mood. I might choose a couple of novels, a short story collection, and maybe a graphic novel for a fun change of pace.

But it’s all about how you like to read. If you’d rather binge a particular series all at once, that’s fine too!

Stack your selected books somewhere nearby, so your TBR pile is all set and ready to go.

book cart with piles of books next to a comfy reading chair

Step 3: Prepare Your Snacks & Drinks

I don’t know about you, but for me, reading snacks are almost as important as the reading itself. 😉

Before your read-a-thon begins, be sure to have some snacks handy to keep you energized! Here are some ideas:

  • popcorn
  • dark chocolate (or milk chocolate – whatever you prefer!)
  • cheese & crackers
  • fruit
  • granola bars
  • nuts
  • brownies or cookies (nothing wrong with a treat!)

Feel free to check out my sweet snacks & dessert blog for more tasty inspiration. 🙂

What’s even more important than snacks? Staying hydrated!

Keep a large bottle of water beside you, and/or your favorite caffeinated drink, such as tea or coffee. Here are some cozy drink ideas to get you inspired!

Step 4: Find a Comfy Spot & Get Cozy

A big part of a read-a-thon is to get comfortable! Find a cozy, quiet spot in your house (like your favorite reading chair).

Grab a blanket, and change into your pajamas or sweatpants – whatever makes you feel the most comfortable.

Step 5: Get Reading!

Lastly, settle in and start reading! Don’t forget to schedule in a few breaks to stretch, walk around, and give your brain a rest.

You might want to plan to read for 30 minutes at a time, or maybe even longer, with a 5-10 minute break in between. Totally up to you!

How to Plan a Buddy Read-a-Thon

Want to plan a read-a-thon with others? It’s pretty similar, but you’ll just want to grab a friend (or a few, either in-person or virtually) and decide on your read-a-thon guidelines.

Or, plan a read-a-thon with your family and/or significant other. That way everyone can join in on the fun!

You might want to:

  • Figure out how you all want to track your reading
  • Take breaks every so often to discuss your books
  • Make the event potluck-style, where everyone brings their favorite reading snack or beverage
  • Plan to swap books with each other during the read-a-thon
  • Make it book club style and all read the same book

If you’re doing a virtual read-a-thon, you might want to all use the same printable or digital reading tracker to track your progress during the event.

You might also want to set up a direct message thread on Instagram (or elsewhere) to keep in touch and follow along with each others’ progress.

However you choose to do it, I hope you enjoy your read-a-thon! 🙂

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