Reading Challenge: Can You Read The Rainbow?

With the spring sunshine peeking through the clouds, now is a great time to introduce you to a super fun and exciting reading challenge – that you will enjoy just as much as your kids in the classroom do.

Reading Challenge: Can You Read The Rainbow?

This is a challenge that children will be able to enjoy in the classroom and at home too.

Here, we will uncover what exactly this fun and exciting reading challenge is all about, and we will explore how you can bring this to the classroom.

How The Reading Challenge Actually Works

So, the way that this reading challenge works is that it is centered around the colors of the rainbow.

It is based on gradually working through all of the colors that the rainbow is made up of in a chronological order.

That said, if you think it might be fun and interactive to allow your students to pick the order in which they do the challenge, that’s totally fine too!

First of all, you can start off by looking at books about rainbows in general – and then you can move on to books featuring the specific colors of the rainbow, or you can aim for covers that match the color of the rainbow.

You can start off with ‘red day’ right through to ‘indigo and violet day’.

What Books Can You Use?

There is no limit to the ages of students who can enjoy partaking in this reading challenge. As a teacher, all you really need to do is adapt the selection of reading books on offer in order to suit the ages of your students.

The kinds of books that you can use really depends on what you are trying to encourage your students to do.

If you want your students to read more to help them with classwork, then you can use books that you are studying in class as part of the challenge.

Or, if you are trying to encourage your class to read more in their spare time, then you can recommend books that are more suited to their age range and that they won’t associate with being ‘school work’, it can feel like more of a hobby.

Making The Reading Challenge Fun

If you want your class to engage in the reading challenge, then you are going to need to find ways to make this as fun as possible.

Otherwise, your class will have no motivation to get behind it and immerse themselves in the challenge.

There are some ways that you can make this challenge really fun – depending on what you want your students to get from it.

If you are keen for your students to benefit from this challenge by helping them improve and expand on their classwork, naturally, your book choice depends on what is part of your curriculum – and what work you are doing in class.

However, if you are keen to integrate this challenge into your classroom as a means of inspiring your students to read more for fun in their spare time, then there are some books that we can recommend to fit the color themes.

The Rainbow Books

The Rainbow Books

There are a lot of different books out there that feature rainbows – and here are some of our favorites.

Ultimately, as the teacher you can of course decide which books are the most suitable for your class and the level that they are reading at.

Cathryn Falwell’s ‘Rainbow Stew’ book is a big favorite for classroom reading, and it is also a favorite for leisure reading.

The story of this book is especially sweet – about three small children spending time with their grandfather – and the rainbow element of this story comes from the wide variety of vegetables that they pick together.

Don Freeman’s ‘A Rainbow of My Own’ book is another recommendation from us. This is a story about a young boy and the way that he imagines how it would feel to have his very own rainbow to play with.

H. A. Rey’s ‘Curious George Discovers The Rainbow’ is part of the Curious George series.

As the title suggests, this story is all about discovery and exploring – and this is George’s first time seeing a rainbow, being able to fully admire and appreciate its beauty.

Mallika Chopra’s ‘My Body Is A Rainbow: The Color Of My Feelings’ is an important educational read for young children. This is a fun way to talk about feelings and emotions and how to express them with younger children.

This is made fun through the illustrations provided within this book and plays a key role in explaining to younger children how exactly emotions and feelings work.

The Color Books

The perfect way to progress beyond the rainbow books is to then dissect the theme into the specific colors.

Starting off with the color red, Anna Dewdney’s ‘Llama Llama Red Pajama’ is a classic bed time favorite. This is a story with engaging artwork and fun rhyming, and it is naturally more suited to a younger readership.

It is something that younger children will find entertaining and will put them in a good mood before they go to sleep.

This is a story that a parent and child can really bond over because the child will relate to the baby llama and the parent will relate to the mama llama. 

Progressing on to the color orange, ‘The Big Orange Splot’ by Daniel Manus Pinkwater is another fun lyrical story that tells children about what it means to be an individual.

This book teaches children the important lessons of accepting other people’s differences and giving them respect for this. 

Moving on to yellow and blue, Leo Lionni’s ‘Little Blue and Little Yellow’ is a picture book that is recommended by teachers for children to read.

The story is about friendship and how friends can find their way back to each other no matter what. 

The perfect way to get into the color green is through Roseanne Greenfield Thong’s ‘Green Is a Chile Pepper’ which is another picture book that young children will enjoy and appreciate.

This novel is a great way to introduce children to the fun and vibrancy of Latino culture.

We mentioned blue earlier along with yellow, but there are of course many books that concentrate on the hue directly.

Robert McCloskey’s ‘Blueberries for Sal’ is another teacher recommendation – and this is a key example of classic and timeless literature that will be passed on through generations of children.

This is a story that looks at the bond between a parent and child – and the adventure is set during the summer which is of course widely exciting.

Last but not least we have violet. There are a variety of different books that you can choose from, but a firm favorite is Steve Breen’s ‘Violet the Pilot’.

This is a story that encourages the love of science and engineering in young girls through the exceptionally intelligent Violet. This is a story about adventure and about embracing your talents.

Violet is set out as a role model figure for young girls and this is what makes the story so powerful and so captivating.

So, these are just a few of our own recommendations for the reading challenge – but ultimately as the teacher, you can make the decision as to what exactly you want to educate your class on.

This can differ depending on the ages of the children along with whether you are wanting them to read to help with their classwork, or to help them enjoy reading in their spare time – or to help both aspects of a child’s development.

Making The Reading Challenge Competitive

Making The Reading Challenge Competitive

There are of course ways that you can add an element of competition to the reading challenge as a way of motivating and encouraging your class to work to the best of their ability.

You can use a sticker chart as a way of praising and encouraging your class to keep up with their reading.

Then, whoever reads the most books can get some kind of prize or reward – this does not have to be anything huge or extensively substantial – just a token of appreciation to give the student a sense of achievement.

In Conclusion

Overall, the rainbow reading challenge is a great way of inspiring and motivating your class to strengthen their reading abilities and to encourage them to read more in their spare time.

You might find that it is more effective to give your class some kind of reward system, a way of giving students merit for working hard.

Ultimately, it all depends on what you are wanting your students to get out of the reading challenge.

If you want the students to expand on and improve their classwork then this is going to warrant a different kind of reward system to reading for fun.

The improvement on classwork has a stronger homework feel about it – whereas reading for fun could have more room for competition.

Helena Waters