When I was a kid, I read voraciously. I could lose myself for hours in stacks and stacks of books. The reading wasn’t that high quality, mind you. I could usually be found reading The Babysitter’s Club or a Christian historical romance, though I also loved Roald Dahl and Lois Lowry (anyone else remember the Anastasia Krupnik series?) and nonfiction, too. 

Then I became a mom, and reading felt decadent.

I read books to nurture my marriage, how-to books on parenting (some far better than others, ahem). But overall, reading just got… harder. It was something I did to improve myself. Not something I got swept away in.

Reading for pleasure felt like a splurge, and often it was a splurge I couldn’t figure out how to justify. 

But here’s the thing — reading for fun is part of the job.

My life is richer when I’m reading for pleasure, and so is my kids’! In fact, I’ve found that their reading lives feed off the energy in mine. 

So how am I going to nurture my own reading life this summer? And what might get in the way?

It’s a question worth asking for all of us, and joining me to ask it today on the podcast are RAR Community Director, Kortney Garrison and Managing Editor, Kara Anderson.

In this episode, you’ll hear:
  • Why reading is a priority in our lives (hint: it’s not too decadent!)
  • Ways to nurture your reading life this summer
  • How to know what to read
Click the play button below or scroll down to keep reading.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Summer is a great time to fall back in love with reading because you’re able to slowly build these habits before jumping into a new school year.

Over the summer (and throughout the year), we host Mama Book Clubs in RAR Premium where we we always offer a “choose your own adventure” assortment of ways to engage in the Mama Book Club.

Depending on your season in life, your energy level—a lot of variables—you might need to read for:

  • Consistency: to develop a daily reading habit
  • Inspiration: to apply what you’re reading to your life as a mother or homeschooler
  • Reflection: to let your reading inspire your journaling practice
  • Wisdom: to help you make a big decision in your life

And of course there are many other reasons to read, as well.

How to Find the Time

Kortney, Kara and I all have different ways of threading books throughout our days. We’ve found a few different strategies helpful:

  • Setting a time to read for 10 minutes before doing absolutely anything else (don’t even pick up that sock laying on the ground)
  • Carry around your book/Kindle instead of your phone (or put the Kindle app on your phone, if that’s your jam)
  • Use a phone wallpaper to remind yourself that you would, in fact, rather be reading

The best way to help your kids live an active reading life is to live one yourself

I want my kids to read for pleasure, and I’ll bet you do, too.

It’s also helpful to remember that most of the reading our kids do should happen after they leave our homes, as adults. We only have them for a few years when they are young, after all.

Well, the best way to help your kids live an active reading life is to live one yourself. We can model what a joy this can be for our kids. 

Our kids won’t remember that we had the laundry put away each night, but they will remember having a parent who read to them and who enjoyed reading him or herself.

During our podcast, Kara mentioned that her kids recently had a friend over and, seeing the house through their visitor’s eyes, she noticed that there were books everywhere. And for a minute, it was embarrassing, like it was underpants thrown about and not just a lot of books.

It made her realize that if our goal is to raise readers, we want there to be books all about. We want our kids to see us sneaking in a few minutes of reading on the porch before dinner, or reading the end of a chapter while we stir something on the stove.

Reading at Whim

Summer is a fabulous time to read at whim.

For Kara, she loves to wander the library and come home with a stack, try a few pages, and if it’s terrible, she’ll move to the next one in her bag.

One of the best things she’s doing is letting go of expectation surrounding her reading, and just reading whatever interests her next or choosing something off her ongoing to-be-read list.

I like to read at whim, as well.

Assigned reading (even if I assign it to myself) is not my favorite! 😇 I do keep a TBR in my bullet journal, however, and I’ll probably just pick whatever sounds best off of that, or whatever strikes my fancy at a bookstore or library.

Not sure what to read?

Try something from my own list of favorites!

Setting Expectations

On the whole, our read-aloud life looks a little lighter in the summer than it does during the school year. My kids are usually playing out in the neighborhood after dinner (which is often when we listen to audio books during the school year), we aren’t in the car going to co-op or extracurricular activities as routinely, and our routines are just overall… wacky in the summer.

So I let that be. I’m okay with this, and I’m reminding myself that I’m okay with this now, so I don’t panic a month in when I realize we aren’t reading as much as we do together the rest of the year. 🙃

I do, however, safeguard 30-60 minutes a day for quiet reading time, so that we all know we have a reliable time and place to read for pleasure during each day. I like doing this at the hottest part of the day, when we can swing it.

What We’re Reading this Summer

Kortney is planning to read Aggressively Happy by Joy Clarkson, which my oldest daughter recommended to all of us. Kortney admits to having flipped immediately to the chapter about Pride and Prejudice where Joy talks about how similar Mr Darcy and Mr Collins are.

That’s a provocative stance! Her daughter Mabel then decided she had to read it first, so Kortney is next in line to read this one.

I read Aggressively Happy recently and absolutely l-o-v-e-d it.

Kara’s favorite summer tradition is to read a Nancy Drew mystery or six. They’re the perfect feel-good mystery novel, especially if you don’t want anything too scary. (Hear more about books for sensitive readers in this episode).

And as for me… I read at whim, remember? 😄 So I’m not quite sure what’s coming down the pike in my reading life, except that I know I’ll be re-reading The Last Bookshop In London by Madeline Martin, which, we are reading together as our Mama Book Club in RAR Premium this summer before we spend an evening with the author, Madeline Martin. (We’d love to have you join us!)

You can see everything coming to RAR Premium this summer right here:

Your Turn!

How are you going to nurture your own reading life this summer?

Take a moment and jot down some ideas.

You can do this in a journal, a notebook, or even the notes app on your phone since I bet that’s handy at the moment. ;) Answer this question:

  • What are 1 or 2 ideas that came to you while listening today that you can implement this summer?

We wish you a most marvelous summer of reading and falling back in love with your own reading life. 

Books & Links mentioned in the show

Sarah, Plain and Tall
The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, Book 1)
The Hundred-Year Barn
Prairie Days
The Last Bookshop in London
Skylark
Caleb’s Story
More Perfect than the Moon
Nora’s Chicks
Rebecca
Grandfather’s Dance

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