I remember a time when I didn’t love to read. Getting lost in a book seemed to take too much time and effort. There were other things I would rather do: watch TV, play outside, ride my bike, skateboard. I guess that’s how kids are today. Reading was like homework and when Mom or Dad asked if I had homework, the answer was almost always no.

Today my reading habits are slightly different. I’m a sucker for books. I set a goal to read more books each year. I started with one a month knowing that some books take a while to read, and others are so engrossing that I can’t put them down. Last year I had a goal to read 17 books. I ended up reading 22, which is crazy to me because of how much time is taken by meetings, lesson planning, and grading.

This year I have more going on, and I’ve set a goal to read 20 books. I plan on doing more in my yard over the summer. I am writing for this website, and plan on producing videos in the near future. I’m still teaching. I still have papers to grade. I still have meetings. I still have a family to spend time with and take care of. So how does one read more than a book a month? On top of that, how does one read more than one book at a time?

How I (Realistically) Read More Than One Book At A Time

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know I try to promote reading everywhere. I tell my students that they can read just about anything in book form, or listen to audiobooks. I’ve figured out that for me, I like to listen to audiobooks when I am driving, working in the yard, or cleaning. Sometimes I listen to music, but there are so many great audiobooks available for free from the library.

I also have ebooks on my phone. I prefer the Kindle app, but there are others that work whether you’re a Google, Nook, or Apple fan. When I’m ready for bed, but not totally tired, I’ll pull out my phone and read a few pages.

Every other time during the day I have a paper book that I almost always have with me. Here’s what my “currently reading” book list looks like today.

  • Audiobook – Wildcard by Marie Lu. This is the sequel to Warcross. It’s a great sci-fi story about a bounty hunter, an online game, and the future of wearable technology.
  • eBook – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. This is great, accessible retelling of Norse Mythology. It’s very well done, and easy to get into.
  • Paper Book – Killing Floor by Lee Child. This is the first book in a series of stories about Jack Reacher, and the adventures he experiences. I just started the book, and it reminds me somewhat of John Grishams attorney novels.

I try to read different types of books so I don’t get the characters or story lines mixed up. I’m waiting to read the sequel to Variant by Robison Wells. This book isn’t exactly like Warcross, but it’s close enough that I’ll wait. Norse Mythology is basically a collection of stories, so it’s easy to pick up and put down. Sometimes I’ll pick up a nonfiction book. That will usually be easy to keep straight because it’s so different from the fiction.

How Many Different TV Shows Do You Watch In A Week?

This is probably the closest comparison I can make. During the week you might watch a sitcom or two, or a show like Law & Order. Maybe you’ll enjoy a reality TV show when the season is right. Add a movie on the weekend, and you’re basically watching two to three shows at the same time. How do you keep all of those storylines and characters straight? It’s not the same? I think it is. It’s possible and with practice, it’s pretty easy.

I’m curious. Do you only read one book at a time? Do you think you could add one more? Why don’t you give it a try?

How many books are you reading now? What are they? I’d really like to know. I love looking for new books.

There are so many good books to read!

Read on!

-Dave

 

People who are trying to accomplish something difficult like to set goals. Setting goals is on peoples’ minds particularly from the end of the year and into the beginning of a new year. Some people like to get very specific with what they would like to get done, while others have a broad idea of success and don’t want to be bogged down with specifics. The end results may need to be specific like a creating a product, or broad like losing a certain amount of weight, or reading a certain number of books.

When it comes to setting reading goals, you might just have the idea that you want to read more throughout the year. Other people might want to read all of the books a particular author has produced. Whatever your goal, and however you plan on accomplishing it, it’s critical that you know what your end result looks like. Is it a number of days exercised? Maybe it’s just that you have to buy a new wardrobe because your old clothes are too big.

How many books do you want to (or think) you can read this year? In 2018 I wanted to read 17 books. I will finish this year with 23, so next year my goal will be 20. More than my goal for last year, but not by too many more.

Apps and internet sites can be very helpful in accomplishing your goals. It’s helpful to track what you have done. If you see success, you’re more likely to continue with the challenge of your goal.

A few years ago, I wanted to read more books. I realized that I read more when I was in college than I did after I graduated and started working as a full time teacher. I believe the proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. If I ask students to write or read more, I should be doing the same. Especially since I know I love reading! I found Goodreads. I know I have mentioned this app and website before. If you haven’t looked at it yet, and you want to set a reading goal for yourself or your child, take some time.

Every year Goodreads has a Reading Challenge. It’s great because they total all users book goals to show how many millions of books are going to be read that year. You get to set how many books you want to read for the coming year. As you mark each book that you’re reading, and complete the book it changes your total. You don’t have to list specific books that you want to read, just the number of books you want to read. I like this setup because I don’t know what I will be in the mood to read throughout the year. I don’t know what will be recommended to me from different students or colleagues.

When I’m reading a book, I add it to my list of books I’m “Currently Reading”. When I finish it, I mark it “Read”. When it’s marked “read”, it’s added to my book goal.

That’s just enough motivation for me to want to keep reading. It’s a little bit of progress over time. The books I finish are books I want to read. I don’t feel pressure to finish one that is awful, because there’s only so much reading time between January and December (or whenever you start your goal with Goodreads).

I hope this tool helps with your reading goals.
I’d love to know how you’re doing with your reading. Leave a comment or send me an email. dave@wasatchreadingclub.com

Read on, and Happy New Year!

-Dave

 

I can’t say that I have a favorite book. I love to read, and have read many books that I would willingly recommend. The starred ones have actually brought me to tears. I have also read some that I loved, and hesitate to recommend for fear of offending someone. If you read a summary or someone’s review, I’m sure you’ll know which ones those are. I’ve linked the titles to the website Goodreads.com where you can see what the book looks like, who it’s by, and maybe read reviews. Goodreads also links to several purchasing sites so you can choose which storefront you like if you want to buy a copy. Or, check them out at the library in person or online at Overdrive.com.

Picture books

Elephant and Piggie # 20 I’m a Frog! All around a great series!

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons Another great series!

Guess Again! Hilarious!

Ish Inspiring!

The Whispering Town* Encouraging that there are good people in the world.

Poetry

Love That Dog*

Novels

The Giver* Series (The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son).

Great Expectations Classic!

Ender’s Game Science Fiction and intense!

The War that Saved My Life* Sad and inspirational.

The Grapes of Wrath Historic and tragic.

The Hobbit Epic fantasy.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963* Hilarious, sad, and historical.

The Gunslinger Epic.

Parable of the Sower Post apocalyptic and philosophical.

David Copperfield Classic!

Siddhartha Leave home to find yourself, and return home found.

Okay for Now*

Animal Farm Historic Satire. Fascinating and frustrating.

Graphic Novels

March: Book One

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans

Non-Fiction

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen One of the world’s best chefs.

Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit Just cool!

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

The Diary of a Young Girl* Historically necessary.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Disturbing and fascinating.

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club

Mutant Message Down Under Philosophical and introspective.

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story* Amazing challenges overcome.

Audio Books

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain I’m a nerd.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think You think you’re paying attention to the world.

I would love to know what some of your favorite books are. Please comment!

Read on Friend!

-Dave

Really. It’s Okay. Your kid isn’t broken. If your child hates reading, it’s not the end of the world.

But, I have a question for you. Do you hate reading?

You don’t have to reply out loud, or type your response in the comment section below(though I would love to have a chat with you sometime).

Reading comes in different forms, not just novels. Business news counts, a biography counts. There are many types of books, magazines, and web print that counts.

If you still hate reading, did you ever love reading in the past? Did a teacher in elementary school read a book to your class every day after lunch recess? Is there a book in your life that you remember with fondness at all?

I have noticed that among all of the students that I have taught; even the kids who say they hate reading, don’t really hate reading. Everyone has a book, though they might be ashamed to admit how long ago it was that they read said book.

There are different types of readers. These are all generally true, there will be obvious exceptions so don’t freak out.

  • Young male readers (8-15 years old) typically enjoy picture books, and books with  facts, data, machines, and pictures that explain them. Animal books, sports books, world record books, freaky facts, and did you know books. Their attention spans grab the data, and process what they’re seeing spatially. Some boys will enjoy big novels like The HobbitThe Chronicles of Narnia, Michael Vey, Hatchet, and the Percy Jackson series, but it’s ok if they don’t. One that my boys loved reading with me is The Watsons Go To Birmingham. It’s funny, and full of opportunity for conversation.
  • Young female readers (8-15 years old) typically enjoy picture books, and books with facts, data, machines, and pictures that explain them. Animal books, sports books, world record books, freaky facts, and did you know books. My daughters particularly like the Fancy Nancy series of books. Pete the Cat, and Elephant and Piggy. Those might be a bit young for 10-15 year olds, but I laugh at them. Again, novels like The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, are good. One novel that has a great female protagonist, and horse riding is The War That Saved My Life.
  • Frustrated and edgy teenagers don’t like to admit that they like reading, but they do. It just has to be a book that is edgy and challenging just like they are. Books that these readers enjoy will often have themes or language that caring adults might not agree with. These books include The Outsiders, Twilight, The Fault in Our Stars, several different manga titles, and many things horror. I don’t specify anything for the last two genres because there are so many titles and authors. You’ll know it if you see it.

I definitely don’t want to tell you what content you should allow. You have your rules and expectations. You have your own understanding of what is right or wrong. I wouldn’t want you to censor me, so I won’t censor you. Do a little research. Check out Goodreads. There are several reviews and ratings when it comes to content. If you’re worried about a book, read it for yourself first.

But do yourself, and your kid a favor.

  • Don’t force your child to read through books that you might have enjoyed as a younger reader.
  • Do give her time and space to find what she likes to read. That includes frequent trips to the library, or the bookstore.
  • Make time for him to read. Turn off devices. Expect that he reads.
  • Demonstrate that you enjoy reading. (Note to self. Find something I like to read.)
  • Take turns reading out loud. This obviously depends on the age of your reader. It can be a great experience to read something with your child. You’ll also have something to talk about later.

If there’s something I’ve learned teaching English to teenagers, it’s that we mess things up trying to help them do the thing we love. Kids learn to hate reading because they are asked questions about the book when they don’t know if they understand it yet. Kids learn to hate to read because there isn’t enough time to do it, or there always seems to be an interruption. Kids learn to hate to read because they don’t know words and don’t want to feel stupid. Kids learn to hate to read because they hear negative things about reading from people they look up to. Kids learn to hate to read because the movie or game or music is easier and louder and better, meaning it takes too much effort for the reward they receive.

Ultimately, it’s about time. We all go through phases. Put the important things in. Cut the distractions out. If your child struggles, help him exercise the skill that needs the work, don’t avoid it. Reading can be a rewarding experience when the right book is found.

Read on, even a little bit at a time counts.

-Dave

 

 

 

 

Image source clipartxtras.com

I don’t want to make any assumptions. You might enjoy reading, but you’re trying to help a child find a book that he or she will really want to read. Maybe you’re here to figure out how to find something you’re interested in. Either way, let’s find you a book!

First though, you have to know a few things.
-What are you or your little reader interested in? Subject matters! There are books on every topic.
-Can you name a book that you enjoyed? What was it about? Why did you like it? If you know the answers to those questions, it will be easier to find something similar.
-Is there something you would like to learn about? There’s bound to be a book about it.

 

# 1 – The Library

Online, or in person, the library is a great resource for finding what’s new and popular.

My local county library website has lists for new adult fiction, new adult biography, and books that are popular within this library system.

The whole library catalog is searchable by category and genre. If you’re at the library, ask a librarian. They love books, and can give you an idea of what will be interesting. I have also seen bookmarks for each genre with new titles available for checkout.

One way to use the library online is through OverDrive. More on that resource later.

# 2 – Goodreads.com

Goodreads is my favorite way to curate book lists. This isn’t about making lists, it’s about finding books to read. Goodreads is a great place to find reviews of books. It also hosts lists of books that might fit the category you are interested in, however specific or general you want.

The people who review books on Goodreads are generally good about protecting spoilers in case you’re worried about that. They also give biased information about books, so read a few before you decide whether or not to pick up a book.

Goodreads is also a social media platform. You can find friends from work or school and see what they are reading. If you have similar interests, it’s easy to add a book that they are reading to your list.

# 3 – OverDrive

OverDrive is an app for your phone, tablet, or computer. It is a hub for all of the libraries you have access to. You can log in to your city, county, and school libraries so long as you have a library card for each. You can search and filter through genre and book format.

OverDrive is great because you can check out books and magazines just like at the physical library, and turn them in when you’re done. It provides access to eBooks and Audiobooks. If a title isn’t available, you can put it on hold. You can see how many people have it on hold in front of you, and get an email when it’s ready to be checked out.

 

There are many other ways to find books to read. Even doing a web search for book lists will provide you with plenty to read through. Once you have a book or two that you can say you enjoyed, you will be able to find something similar. You just need to ask.

Are there other places you frequent to find something to read? Let me know in the comments!

Read on, be brave!

-Dave