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 2 (the intermediate to high-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 and build academic skills. Reading skills boxes focus on dictionary skills and many other skills that today’s students need for academic success (like SQ3R). Vocabulary skills boxes review prefixes and suffixes but also emphasize collocations and compound and participial adjectives. Study tips are presented in the areas of reading practices, student life on campus, computer use, and test taking.
The book also includes timed/paced readings, which are important to developing reading fluency.