I’ve talked a lot here about reading because it’s such an important part of our family’s life. I was the little girl who stayed up past her bedtime and read by the light of her alarm clock in order to finish a book (seriously!). As a family, we’ve gone through seasons of life where we didn’t read as much as we liked. A few months ago, I noticed we weren’t reading nearly as much as we wanted (or needed) to.
After talking with my husband and listening to a podcast that revolutionized our thinking, we decided to put a plan into action. We started by creating a book-club culture in our home. We wanted our home to be a sweet haven for reading. This task comes with its challenges but the rewards are forever. Here’s how we did it.
What Is A Reading Haven?
When I think of a haven, I think of a safe, familiar, comfortable place that warm and inviting. The word “haven” is synonymous with the word “home” in my mind. I want our family to love reading enough to allow it to change them for the better. Reading should be enjoyed and savored; not a chore to detest.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” ― Jane Austen
How We Created A Reading Haven
It wasn’t enough to simply talk about reading more and writing down our “plan of action.” We knew the plan had to put into place. We had to form a daily habit. One night after listening to an online class with Sarah McKenzie (from the Read Aloud Revival), we made a choice to start our new journey the following day.
1. We Created A Daily Reading Date
In her class, Sarah talked a lot about creating a book club culture in your home and what that looks like. We were doing so many of the same things she talked about, but we weren’t doing them daily. So, now we have a set time each day that we all drop everything (Little Man too) and sit and read. For us, the 2:30-3:00 time works best. We each grab our books and read for 30 minutes.
This doesn’t have to go on for hours. It can even be 10 minutes. If you have toddlers, sit them on a blanket with a few toys, lay beside them and read your book too. It’ll take some time to form the habit. Don’t be discouraged!
2. We Tossed Out The “Have To’s”
We’re a homeschooling family and we love it! When I left the classroom, I made the mistake of operating my homeschool like a classroom (that’s for another post) and it just didn’t work. I even continued to assign quarterly book reports and my daughter did them. Oh, the drudgery! Do you remember the book reports you wrote in high school? Do you even remember the books that impacted your life from writing a report on them? I don’t.
Now, instead of making her write lengthy reports on her book, I assign her a small stack that she needs to read for the year. Once she finishes an assigned book, either her dad or I will listen to her tell us about it over orally over a meal or her favorite dessert. Once I did this, my daughter’s reading enjoyment sparked more interest than ever before.
“There is nothing more luxurious than eating while you read—unless it be reading while you eat.” ― E. Nesbit
3. We Made Books A Daily Conversation
I want to surround my children with the goodness and beauty that’s found in reading. Reading is a comfort to the soul and engages the mind. Simply starting a conversation about reading opens up a variety of discussions. Forming the habit of just talking about books makes it a daily part of our conversations.
We even started our own family book club to nurture this culture further. Recently, we finished reading Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens together. This adorable picture book was a great way to include our toddler. We concluded the book with a family feast of vegetable soup and discussed the book around good food (Little Man just ate the soup).
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl
Our Current Reads
My daughter and I are currently making our way through The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. We hope to finish soon and include another feast with it! It’s a wonderful page-turning mystery for middle schoolers.
At dinner, we’re making our way through the magical land of Narnia with Prince Caspian.
Are you a reading family, or trying to be? Let me know how you’re working toward that. Feel like you never have time for reading? Check out the ways I prioritize reading here.