As a person who has always loved to read, I spent my first 3 years as a mom not reading much. I justified it by saying I didn’t have the time. I also worked full-time as a high school English teacher, so I patted myself on the back for re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm and such. But, for someone whose main job was to instill a love of writing and reading and communicating in her students, I was living a poor example.
I finally snapped out of my reading drudgery when my husband and I moved close to a fabulous library. I started taking my boys there weekly and on almost all rainy days. Surrounding myself with books sparked the reading bug in me again.
I picked up my reading habit in short bursts. I would read during nap time or before I went to bed. I stored my library books in convenient locations. I turned off the television. Soon, I discovered that I was reading again and loving it.
How can I find something to read if I don’t have much time?
1. Check out a variety of books: I usually pick up at least three books when I go to the library. I grab a biography or memoir, something science-ish but written by a journalist (Like this and this), and a work of fiction. Sometimes, I want an action-packed young adult novel to dive in and read in a day or two. Sometimes it’s something from my list of shame that I’ve always wanted to read. Sometimes I pick a fun murder mystery, sometimes a marriage plot. The point is to grab several which might interest me in different times of the day.
2. Get an eReader: Having a Kindle or eReader equivalent allows for reading on the go. It easily fits in my purse, and it has a variety of books available in one space. It saves my spot for me automatically, and it’s private (People love to talk to me about what book I’m reading at the doctor’s office.) I like reading books about spiritual matters with my Kindle. I follow several Christian bloggers and frequently find discounted or free books through social media.
3. Start Family Reading Times: I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Many days, I read aloud to them during meal times, but I also try to have a few minutes each day where we all go read our own books. My oldest grabs his easy readers, my second one grabs a Richard Scarry book, and I hand my toddler a basket of board books. If you have kids in school who have to read a specified amount for homework, read while they are reading. Better yet, read what they are reading and talk about it!
4. Set a Timer: If reading is not fun for you, but you want to read more, set a timer for 15 minutes. And do it. I like to read in the kitchen this way. Rice cooks in about 15 minutes. You can finish an entire chapter!
5. Listen to Books: Listening to audio books while folding laundry, washing dishes, or commuting to work provides a great way to pass the time. I like this website for my kids, and we also subscribe to podcasts on my phone. Most libraries have a selection of audio books as well.
6. Read before bed: Studies have shown that screen time before bed is not beneficial. Spend time in bed with a book instead of your phone or the television. 30 minutes of reading before bed gets you through a book rather quickly.
7. Find a group: Just like a work out buddy, having book buddies helps with accountability and stimulates conversation and ideas while reading.