Last week on Fangirl Happy Hour’s Question Tuesday, Ana and Renay discussed when and how they make time for reading and asked listeners to tell them how we read.
I meant to write an answer and post it the same day I listened, but fate intervened in the form of the biggest wind storm and subsequent power outage that Michigan has ever seen. My workplace lost power for four days. My home lost power for five (luckily, we have a wood stove, so we were able to stay warm.) But we had no internet connection.
Now I’m back online, and ready to share with you how a working mother with young children is still able to read over 250 books a year. I am not able to block off an hour at a time to sit and read, but I have found lots of ways to fit reading in over the course of the day. Here are my (no longer) secrets.
I may not have time to just sit, but I have to eat. Breakfast is always a reading meal at our house – we have wire book stands like this to hold our books up for easier reading. Supper is only a reading meal if we’ve been together all day and have already had time to talk with each other, though my daughter begs for a reading supper much more often. I always need a bedtime snack, too, so that’s another 15-20 minutes of reading before bed.
The upside of spending a couple of hours in the car every day between driving the kids and getting to work is the added audiobook time. I always have at least three going at a time – one for each of my children and one for me. The hours a week I spend washing dishes and doing laundry add up to even more books.
Just about every evening I’m home, I read aloud to my daughter. Now that my son is older and has more homework, we only manage to fit in reading a couple of times a week. Books read this way go much more slowly, but I’d guess we still went through at least 20 this way last year. Especially when the rest of the day is rushed and hectic, taking a little time to snuggle and connect over a book in the evening is sweet and precious.
Stolen Minutes and Short Books
All the reading times above are ones that happen every day or almost every day. But I also keep an ebook on a device with me at all times, so that if I’m stuck in line or at a doctor’s office, I’ll have something to read. I also read some shorter and faster books – middle grade in general goes more quickly than adult, and graphic novels and the occasional early chapter book go even faster. I’ll count picture books in my total for the year only if I take the time to blog them (which always takes much, much longer than reading them in the first place.) It does help, with print books, that I am a fast reader, even if I don’t feel like it next to Charlotte and Ms. Yingling.
Your life, of course, is different than mine, and what works for me may not work for you. You might not want to watch television only on the weekend as I do, for example. But I’m living proof that reading just 15 minutes at a time can add up, and reading in front of your children is likely to make them want to read, too.
That turned out a little for something I thought would be a simple answer! When do you read?
That sounds about right. I need to spend less time online and then my reading will increase. I have to be super intentional about it, though.
The internet is so hard! I’m lucky in not having a smartphone, so I’m not tempted to check social media in line, for instance. But even so, it’s feeling much more important to keep up with the news these days!
Feels more important which also makes it even more overwhelming and, I think, necessary to unplug sometimes.
So true! Especially before bed for me, or I won’t be able to sleep.
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