4 Ways to Read More During the School Year (+book recommendations!)

I know many of you who follow my blog are avid readers, with stacks and piles of books waiting to be read. I am, too. I love books and reading is one of my favorite leisure activities.

But once school starts, our time slowly slips away from us and we find ourselves reading less and less. What can we do to ensure that even during the school year, when life gets busy, we are still enjoying great books on a regular basis?

I have four tips for you:

1. Take a book with you to school every day.

This may not apply to those of you who are homeschooled, but it’s the single tip that has made the most difference for me. I carry the book that I’m currently reading in my backpack every single day – it’s a daily essential just as much as my planner is.

Because there’s so much downtime in public school classes, and because I’m a pretty fast test-taker, I get a lot of reading done in little bits and pieces throughout the day. Between classes, after a quiz or test, on the bus, during study hall if you don’t have anything else to do…all of that is valuable time perfect for pulling out a book.

2. Set aside particular times in your weekly routine to read.

During the school year, spontaneously picking up a book in your “free time” usually isn’t going to happen (mostly because that free time doesn’t really exist). But if you structure longer chunks of reading time into your week, you’ll make steady progress. For me, this is usually weekends, especially Sundays. But whether it’s every evening before bed or for three hours on Saturday afternoon, plan some regular time into your schedule when you can consistently get some reading in.

3. Listen to audiobooks.

To be honest, I really prefer print books. There’s something about holding a book in your hand that just can’t be replaced. But if you’re an auditory learner, or you’re literally always on the go and can’t find time to read anywhere in your schedule, audiobooks might be a good option. You can listen to them while you’re driving, working out, doing chores, walking your dog, and more; it’s a great way to get through the books you want to read while still getting other things done as well.

Using audiobooks for school reading while multitasking can be a great way to save time too. (Even consider putting them on double-speed to save even more time!) You can then use the time that you would have spent reading school books to do other things (like reading for fun, maybe…?).

4. Choose books that you can’t put down.

Finally, make sure you are reading books that pull you in, books that you will voluntarily choose over social media and all those other time-wasting activities. If forcing yourself to read Charles Dickens is going to mean you never actually read at all, then don’t try to read Charles Dickens during the school year! Maybe do that over the summer instead.

If you like classics, by all means read classics. But if you just need to read light, fun books to take a break from schoolwork, that’s totally fine too.

Here are a few of my favorite lighter reads to get you started (if you want more details about any of these feel free to leave a comment!).

Image result for paper crowns mirriam nealPaper Crowns by Mirriam Neal (fantasy, fairy tale; be sure to enter the giveaway for a copy of this if you haven’t!)

Image result for the lunar chroniclesImage result for heartlessThe Lunar Chronicles and Heartless by Marissa Meyer (sci-fi/dystopian, fantasy, fairy tale retellings; some intense scenes/violence and mostly clean romance)

Image result for the penderwicksThe Penderwicks and sequels by Jeanne Birdsall (contemporary, family)

Image result for vinegar girl Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (contemporary, clean romance; maybe some language, I don’t remember)

Image result for interrupted rachel coker Interrupted by Rachel Coker (historical, clean romance, Christian)

Image result for miss peregrine's home for peculiar children series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and sequels by Ransom Riggs (fantasy/weird sort of historical; some language and intensity)

Image result for dragon king trilogy stephen lawhead The Dragon King trilogy by Stephen Lawhead (epic fantasy, adventure; some scary scenes/violence)

Image result for mitford series The Mitford series by Jan Karon (contemporary, family, Christian)

 

What do you think? How do you make time to read during the year? Have you read any of the books I recommended, and what others would you recommend? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

 

 

 

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7 Childhood Books I Still Love

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We all have those books from our childhood.

You know the ones I’m talking about; the ones we’ve read thirty times, the ones that sit battered and worn on our bookshelves, the ones that we still pick up and read when we get the chance, the ones that will be the first books we share with our children.

Today I wanted to share a few childhood books for me; these are not only ones that I loved as a child, but ones that I still love, reread, and would recommend to anyone, young and old. Yes, many of these will take older readers one sitting to read, maybe two, but that doesn’t make them any less deserving.

Here are 7 childhood books that I still love and think that everyone should read. If you have siblings, relatives, or friends who are younger and need something clean and good to read, try these; if you’re looking for something light and enjoyable yourself, try these!

The Penderwicks and sequels by Jeanne Birdsall

This series is not only a childhood favorite, but four of my favorite books of all time. The fourth book actually just came out, and the fifth (and last…*sniff*) one is coming soon, but I discovered the first one basically by accident a long time ago. The series details the everyday (and sometimes not-so-everyday) adventures of four sisters, but that little blurb doesn’t do them justice by a long haul!  They are so, so, so good. Go read them now.

Elsie Dinsmore and sequels by Martha Finley

I haven’t read this whole series, but I’ve read like the first twelve or fourteen so many times. These books have been a big part of my life since I was very young and Elsie is my ultimate role model.

Ballet Shoes and sequels by Noel Streatfeild 

Even if you’re not a dancer and no longer a kid, I still recommend these! It’s a fascinating look into how ballet and theater used to be taught…I wish it was still this way and I could get a performing license at  age twelve…But anyway, these books are great and I’ve read them more times than I can count.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

I like everything by Gail Carson Levine, but this was the first book of hers that I read and I’ve read it many times since. It’s the story of a girl cursed at birth with obedience; she has to do what others tell her to no matter what. A fascinating Cinderella retelling, one of the first fairy tale retellings I ever read, and a great read!

Betsy-Tacy and sequels by Maud Hart Lovelace 

The first four books in this series were a big part of my childhood. (Once they get into high school it isn’t as enjoyable for young children; I love the rest of the books now, of course.) Such a cute, timeless friendship story!

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright 

Probably one of the most re-read books on this entire list (I know I’ve said that about all of them, but I mean it), this book details the attempts of the Melendy children to save up their money and have some Saturday adventures. I know I read the others in the series at some point, but this is the one I’ve always loved the most!

The School Story by Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements is just a good writer overall, but this book has a special place in my heart because of the subject matter. It’s about a girl who decides to masquerade as an adult in order to get a book published; it’s a “realistic” story about real kids but completely far-fetched when it comes to the likelihood of this happening in real life. So fun!

 

So there you go! Seven of my favorite childhood books. Have you read any of these? What books played a big part in your childhood? Tell me in the comments below!

love, grace