Reading is one of my favorite things to do, always has been. From a young age I loved to read. Going to the library was one of my favorite things to do. Come to think of it, it still is! I grew up in a house full of books. And anytime I have visited my grandfather’s home, he has always had a book at his spot at the table. To this day I cannot look at a book by Tom Clancy without wanting to lose myself in a military-themed title. I am forever grateful for the love of books that my father and my grandfather instilled within me.

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The importance of reading is more than just gaining knowledge or escaping into another reality. Reading also leads us to be better thinkers, to view the world around us from a different perspective, and to help settle in our hearts who we are as a person.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

“To learn to read is to light a fire” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

There has been much said about the discipline of reading. Even Taylor Swift has shared her reading wisdom!

“Books train your imagination to think big” – Taylor Swift

Today, access to books is easier than ever. Just take your phone, E-reader, tablet, or local library and you have access to endless worlds and opinions. We do not lack in the availability and opportunity to read. What we often lack is the discipline to be a reader (or a listener–for those that enjoy endless audiobook options).

My goal this year is to read at least 52 books. This does not include books I will be reading for reviews or books that I will be reading for sermon prep and seminary. This means that I want to be reading one book a week. And just so you know, I have not perfectly followed my plan for one each week, but I am on track to hit my total 52 by the end of December.

Here are my tips to helping you become a reader:

  1. Decide on how many books you will read. Will one a week be too fast for you or too slow? Figure out what is realistic for you and your ability to read. Challenge yourself!
  2. Pick the books. Once you know how many books you want to read, pick them ahead of time. This has helped me stay on track. When I have already made my list I tend to stick with it and also don’t get as distracted by other books that grab my attention.
  3. Stick with your list. As best as possible stay with the list you made. If you find yourself wanting to read new releases, build in a few, and only a few spots for that purpose.
  4. Commit some daily time to read. You will not stay with your reading plan if it is not part of your routine. I set aside one hour a day to read from my list. Some days this is a full hour of reading. But I have kids, so most of the time this is broken up in 15-minute and 30-minute increments. Decide what will work best for you and stick with it.
  5. Do not allow yourself to become discouraged. You will fail! At some point you will get off track. Creating a new discipline is not easy and there will be good lengths of time and awful ones. Pick up where you left off and enjoy what you are reading. Don’t be so stressed about keeping up with your book list that you forget to enjoy what you are reading.

There is so much to be gained by reading. I have been challenged, encouraged, frustrated, and educated by reading. One of my favorite things to do as a dad is to help my children begin good disciplines. My 3-year-old son already loves to sit and “read” through his large collection of books. He hates to miss our daily evening reading time when we take time to read several of his books and a lesson from the Bible. I will always treasure the moments we have to read together. Reading has had a unique way of bonding my family together, my hope is that you will begin to see this happening in your life as well.

Reading is a doorway that can lead to endless worlds and possibilities. 

*A great resource for creating a book list can be found at Tim Challies blog: The 2016 Reading Challenge

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