The Challenges textbook series helps students become better readers through explicit teaching of reading skills and strategies that will break counter-productive habits, such as word-for-word translation. Vocabulary is a major focus of the series as well because good readers know a lot of words.
Challenges 1 (the low-intermediate level) has eight units with two chapters in each. Each unit begins with an introduction to the topic—generally a one-page activity to activate students’ interest and background knowledge. Each chapter consists of sections designed to support students’ understanding of a reading passage. For example, the Reading Skills section teaches one of three types: basic reading skills, dictionary skills, or sentence-level grammar skills. Vocabulary is also previewed, but students also practice word forms of the target vocabulary and learn common collocations and phrases.
The book also includes timed/paced readings, which are important to developing reading fluency. Additional material to support the book is available online.