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Creating reading goals for the new year is something I always like to get out of my head and down on paper. I usually have so many different ideas that they seem to sort of swirl around making me paralyzed when it comes to taking action.
So, today I’m going to share with you the way I like to establish reading goals for myself. Then we will also look at how to define what I want to accomplish with reading aloud with my kids.
READING FOR MOM
I’ve had the goal for the past several years to read more. I never really read anything at all unless I had to after college. I know it sounds strange but I had to learn what I enjoyed when I decided to pick up a book. It’s taken some time to really get myself to enjoy reading because it was always a task that I had to do and never was something that was nurtured. Setting up my goals is a way to help me prioritize it for myself. I hope doing this for the kids will help them find what they love so they can learn to enjoy this for fun much earlier than I did.
In the past, my goal was just to read at all. Now that I’ve established reading when I think of it, I want to push myself a little more next year. The structure I’m using is not my own idea. I think I heard it mentioned from a mom at our CC community. I’m not sure if I follow all the correct guidelines, but this is how I’ve adapted for my own reading.
FIVE CATEGORIES FOR READING GOALS
I like to do a little research and self reflection to nail down five categories that I want to be sure to dabble in. Examples of the categories I’m choosing this year are classics, books on parenting and/or homeschooling, fiction, books on business, and books that grow my faith. My goal is to read five books from each category throughout the next year. That comes out to roughly two books per month. I feel that leaves plenty of wiggle room for busy weeks or even to potentially read more than my goal if I feel a little wild and crazy.
I have to admit that the only classics I’ve read were read in my English class in high school. While I read some great ones, I did it only to achieve a grade and did not actually let myself enjoy it. I was just not interested at that point and did not appreciate what I was being asked to do. I don’t have my five completely chosen, but I do know that a couple on my list include Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Persuasion by Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. We will see if any of those inspire any other choices once I’ve finished them.
BOOKS ON PARENTING/HOMESCHOOL
I have a couple favorites in this category of book that you might be interested in checking out. Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Hubbard is one of my all-time favorites on discipline in a biblical sense. M is for Mama by Abbie Halberstadt is another that I can’t get enough of. It is an ultimate encouragement when it comes to having a solid biblical motherhood mindset. I have read each of those multiple times because the encouragement they offer is so impactful.
I’ve also enjoyed Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, Habits of the Household by Justin Whitmel Earley, Take Back Your Family by Jefferson Bethke, and Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross. Books that have impacted our homeschool the most so far are The Read Aloud Family and Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. Anything by Sally Clarkson is always pure gold too. I plan to read Abbie Halberstadt’s newest book Hard Is Not the Same Thing as Bad this year. I’m still looking for more to add to this part of my list.
This is definitely the most difficult area for me to find something good. I am still figuring out what I really enjoy. I realize that this category overlaps with the classics, but I wanted to make sure I’m experiencing both old and new literature.
There are a lot of great stories out there, but I really like to try to keep the material clean. I know that books with all the “spice” are all the rage right now. I’ve read a couple of them. Here’s the deal though. They just aren’t life-giving. I’ve learned that, just like I teach my children, what I consume in any way will definitely touch my heart. For this reason, I like to keep the spice out of my reading list.
I read a few last years that I really liked. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave was great. Her book Hello, Sunshine was a really interesting perspective too. I also discovered Charles Martin’s book Chasing Fireflies and it was phenomenal. There are some topics in there that can be pretty triggering and heavy. However, he brings those full circle and showcases how the Lord can redeem them. Needless to say, I’ve got some research to do on what I plan to read this year.
BOOKS THAT GROW MY FAITH
This past year I discovered an author named Craig Groeschel. I read his books The Power to Change and Winning the War in Your Mind. These two books were so very practical as they touched on real life and things we face on a day to day basis. But what I loved about them is they took topics found in many books and they got very real about how God is our real help. They benched all self-help books in all the best ways. I love them so much I’ve gifted them and will continue to revisit them time and time again.
A big bonus for me is that I listened to these on Audible and they were read by the author. I’m not sure why that’s such a big deal to me, but when a book is read by its author it’s just better. I plan to read a couple more of his, but I haven’t figured out which ones yet. I also want to read Momma Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer. I’ve started it before but never made it all the way through it. I’ve also started Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and would love to restart and finish that one. In the past one of the most impactful for me was Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. I also read Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst and loved it at the time.
BOOKS ON BUSINESS
This is new to me. I’ve read a small handful of books in this area but not enough to have many great recommendations so far. I’m excited to see what I can find this year to grow in this way. I am very curious to see if any of you has many recommendations in any of the categories. If you do, I would appreciate you tossing those in the comments.
TIMING OUT MY READING GOALS
After deciding my five categories, I write out any books I know I want to read. I’m ok with some blank spaces because I usually run across recommendations all the time. I know I will find some I’m interested in and am glad to have the categories chosen to help me focus my searches. This leaves me a goal to read fifteen books in twelve months. That comes out to 1.25 per month. The achiever in me wants something more challenging than this, but in reality, margin is my friend. There always seem to be months that end up so packed full. There is also not a thing wrong with doing more than I set out to do.
READING GOALS FOR MY KIDS IN THE NEW YEAR
I like to set reading goals for my kids in our homeschool too. I’ve been thinking through what I feel is realistic for this upcoming year. I’ve landed on shooting for two chapter books per month and two hundred fifty picture books for the year. I will come up with a great reward with the kids for when we achieve our goal.
READING WITH THE KIDS
Up to this point, my boys and I have really loved The Magic Tree House collection. When we read those, we tend to make it through one book every five days or so. I wanted to give us a little more time in our goal planning. I hope to get us into some other books that might take us a little longer to enjoy. Finding a time of day to dive into this is going to be a challenge this coming semester. We usually did this when they would settle down for bed or quiet time, but our sleep situation is changing. We now have my youngest daughter finishing up her naps and she will need to be included.
I recently addressed refreshing our homeschool schedule here. This scenario is a perfect example of why I feel the urge to clean up our routines. I have two main goals with this change. The first is to find a new time of day to settle into literature together to include all the kids. The second is finding books that will engage all ages of my children.
We also have Yoto players and love to use them occasionally during lunch time, during quiet time or on road trips. I’m sure these will come in handy often.
BOOKS WE PLAN TO READ
My children are ages four, six and seven for reference. I don’t have all of our books chosen, but I’ve got a good stockpile going. I want to dive into a couple classics like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I also snagged the entire Chronicles of Narnia collection on Yoto cards during their recent Black Friday sale. Since we have enjoyed the Magic Tree House collection so much, I decided to grab four of The Boxcar Children from Yoto too. Others I can’t wait to start include Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.
Thank you for spending some time with me discussing creating reading goals for the new year. I’m excited to add a little more structure to my plans than I usually do. I would love to hear what type of categories you choose or book recommendations you have for any of mine in the comments. Make sure you click the link below to snag some FREE printables to help you in your own planning. In the bundle you will find a sheet to work through your own five categories. There is also a sheet to help you plan out which chapter books you want to read with your kids each month. Lastly, there is sheet to track 250 books and decide on a reward for when you and your kids accomplish that goal.