“A book can’t change the world on its own. But a book can change readers. And readers? They can change the world.” Sarah MacKenzie, The Read-ALoud Family)
Welcome to Monday 3-2-1! Today we’re discussing practical tips for how you can read more books this year (personally and as a family), but even more importantly how to create a family culture that loves reading. You don’t have to have kids to enjoy this post though, there’s something for everyone here!
3 Tips for Reading More Books This Year
1. Choose the right books.
Like any good habit worth pursuing, we have to believe the end result will be worthwhile. If you don’t find the book interesting or captivating, it’s going to be difficult to motivate yourself to pick it back up again. I purposefully chose NOT to make completing a certain number of books my goal this year, but instead challenged myself to expand my genres of reading. As I choose books from different categories each month, my reading is naturally varied and will interest me in different ways. The same is true for our children. Reading the same type of books all the time will only expose them to the same types of stories and over time will bore them. Instead, consider choosing a variety of books to read aloud each month and see what new things grab their attention (and yours!)!
Mom Hack: I keep on ongoing list on my phone of “books to read” and “books to buy.” Every time someone recommends a book that sounds interesting, I add it to my list. I’ve been utilizing our local library as much as possible for my “books to read” list. I share my “books to buy” list with my husband for birthday, Christmas, or anniversary gift suggestions.
2. Replace one habit with another.
One difficult thing I had to realize in the last year was that reading (similar to working out!) was not naturally going to happen for me. It required time and attention, two things that often feel impossible to find. I came to understand that in order to be successful I had to replace some habits. Instead of watching a tv show when my kids napped, I picked up a book and forced myself to read just one chapter a day. After that, I told myself I could move on to something else I wanted to do. More days than not, I continued reading. I have friends who sit down and read while their kids are watching their daily show, and one who even manages to read while walking on the treadmill (I tell her I still have no idea how she does this!) Others have given up their evening shows during the week in exchange for reading books after the kids are in bed. The point is simple: Making reading a habit will require replacing something else you are currently doing.
Mom Hack: Keep books in different parts of your home and in your vehicle. I have books in the office, living room, bedroom, and downstairs playroom. I will often grab a kids book to take along to grocery pickup (because sometimes grocery pickups are NOT quick!) The more accessible I make books to my kids and myself, the more likely we are to read throughout the day. I also think in terms of “just read one chapter!”
3. Involve your family & make it fun.
A few ideas….Once or twice a month have a family reading night. Make special snacks, hot chocolate, get the blankets, and have everyone grab their favorite books. You and your spouse could take turns doing read alouds to the kids while the other reads on their own, or you could all cozy up with one book together. This can also be a fantastic time to remember audio books. Set up a simple coloring and craft station at the kitchen table and let the kids do art while listening to an audio book.
Go to the library together as a family. If your library is open during Covid, make this a special family outing. Let the kids pick out a few books that look interesting to them, grab a few dvd’s for a family movie night, and don’t forget to find some fun books for yourself!
Read a book first as a family/ couple and then watch the movie (Hint: This can also be a fun date night idea!) Or consider changing it up…Watch the movie and THEN read the book. You decide.
Have a “go to” audiobook (or books on cd) list in your van for those long drives.
Audiobook Suggestions for adults
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand- The true story of the Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, who survives World War 2 in a Japanese war camp and eventually converts to Christianity through the preaching of Billy Graham. Powerful story of redemption and forgiveness. Excellent audiobook, but not intended for little ears.
Fatherless by James Dobson (Book 1)
Childless by James Dobson (Book 2)
Godless by James Dobson (Book 3
This series is phenomenal. I listened to these books a few years ago and feel like we are now living these books. These are so good I would do them over and over again.
Audiobook suggestions for kids
*Make sure you check your local library for these titles & more!
2 Things I’m Loving
- The Secret of the Hidden Scroll A friend texted me last year and said “I think your daughter might be old enough for this series now.” I had my mom buy the entire set for my daughter for Christmas and we are already on book 4! I cannot recommend this series enough. So fun!
- Read A Loud Revival: This website and podcast transformed my reading life with my kids last year. We started doing her recommendation of a year in picture books. Each month there is a free printable of picture book suggestions that we can check out from our local library. I taught kindergarten for four years and thought I “knew” a lot of picture books- was I ever wrong! This is an excellent resource for any family, individual, but especially teachers!
1 Quick Thought
“I began to picture my children’s hearts as treasure chests of a different sort, and I vowed to fill them with intrinsic treasures: the best stories, memorized Scripture, priceless images of classical art, excellent books, memories from great feasts enjoyed together and special days celebrated, great Bible stories and wisdom passages, plus heart photographs of love given, holidays cherished, lessons learned.” (Sally Clarkson, The Life-Giving Home)
Happy reading from my family to yours,