“Better to ask,” came the sleepy reply, “how you plan to solve this dilemma at 1am.”
Unfortunately for the sleepy side of my brain, there was no more sleep that night…..
Eureka! I found a solution to our family’s reading woes, and we’ve been using it ever since. Perhaps it will be helpful to yours as well.
Reading for Sport
For some reason, the question of reading was particularly pressing one particular starless night. In desperation, I switched on the light and picked up the September 2010 issue of OCEANetwork Waves, Oregon’s Christian Home Education Association Network Magazine. There I found an article, “Advice from a Bibliophile”, by Kate Karman.
Ms. Karman suggested three things:
- Read Old Books
- Read Whole Books (unabridged)
- Keep a List of What You Read
Bingo! “Self,” I said, “if we can keep sports stats, then we can keep reading stats!”
The next morning, I presented our new plan to my skeptical boys, complete with individually labeled notebooks. I’ve found that enthusiasm is key for any venture involving the male gender.
“Boys! We’re going to play the book game! (They love games.) We’re going to write down every book you read, the author and the date. You’ll have it forever and ever, and you can show it to your great-grandchildren! (The boys are excited about showing everything to their great-grandchildren.) I’m going to do it too! (In our house, success is nearly guaranteed by parental participation.) This is a game you play with yourself–there’s no competition with anyone else.”
How a Reading Log Can Help Your Child
Thus began our book game. We’ve been playing the game (otherwise known as keeping a reading log) for over five years now. We list the date completed, the title and the author. With a little encouragement from the guys, we’ve expanded the list to include non-fiction, older picture books, magazines (they must read the whole magazine, though), read-aloud books (marked with RA), and school books. It has become a record of sorts of their homeschool journey. I appreciate being able to look back and see what they’ve accomplished (what a joy to realize we’d read 19 books of the Old Testament the first fall we kept the list). They love having their reading stats recorded for posterity. Now that’s what I call a winning score.
You can keep a reading log too. For boys, who are particularly concerned with stats and competition, turning reading into a sport can be really helpful!
In addition to adding some fun to your reading, keeping a book log gives your kids a lifelong record of the material they’ve read. This can be a lot of fun to read through.
Download a Printable Reading Log
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.