Twelve Ways to Read More This Year


I don’t read as much as I used to, but I’m changing that. Hours spent on the computer, smart phones, and the busy lives we lead, keep us from reading books. With some planning and new routines I’m correcting this in my life and I invite you to join me.

Here are twelve ways you can read more this year.

1. Carry a book everywhere you go.

Seriously – everywhere you go. You never know when you’ll be stuck in a line, or sitting in the car waiting for a child. Piano lessons may run five minutes long, a coach may keep the team a few extra minutes, that time doesn’t need to be wasted.

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2. Read a little non-fiction each morning.

I start my morning with the Bible, followed by a devotional, New Morning Mercies. Then, if I’ve planned well, I read for fifteen minutes. I don’t turn on my computer until I’ve completed those things.

I was with a group of women who all sheepishly admitted to checking Facebook while sitting on the toilet in the morning. Rather than our phones, why not keep a book with short essays or devotional passages near the toilet. Just a thought.


3. Go to bed twenty minutes early each night.

Keep a book (or three) on your nightstand and end the day with a little reading. If you’re too tired to grab a book, keep a magazine you enjoy near your bed and read an article before falling asleep.

4. Keep a book in your car (for the times you forget tip #1).

A non-fiction book with short chapters that can be picked up and put down over a long period of time is perfect.

5. Get (and use) a Kindle.

Or use the Kindle app on another device. My Kindle fits in my purse and is very quick and easy to use. It’s great for travel because it contains everything from my Bible to various books I’m reading. I’m considering buying the Kindle version of New Morning Mercies so I don’t have to carry the hard copy with me when I’m out of town.

When there are great deals on Kindle books, I add them to my library. I may not know exactly when I’ll read them, but I always have a book waiting for me.

6. Listen to audiobooks.

This is an incredibly efficient means of adding literature to your life. One snowy winter, Russ listened to The Count of Monte Cristo and Tale of Two Cities while plowing our driveway each day. Our neighbor’s driveway looked pretty good that winter too, because he often wanted to finish a chapter before he came in. He just finished listening to The Nightingale on a trip to Seattle Children’s with some of our kids.

I listen to audiobooks when I drive any significant distance, when I fly, and when I exercise.

7. Read aloud to your children.

Choose good literature and their books will count as yours. We’re currently working our way through The Chronicles of Narnia. If you’ve never read them, you really should.

8. Combine books with exercise.

Of course you can read while on the treadmill or listen to audiobooks as you exercise, but you can also read in shorter bits. The kids got me a Fitbit for Christmas and some nights when I haven’t reached my goal of 10,000 steps, I grab a book, and pace the loop through my living room and kitchen while reading. It’s not a large loop, but it works for me; when the weather gets better, I’ll walk up and down our driveway.

9. Turn off the computer and walk away.

Honestly, this is the hardest and most significant way for me to find time for reading books. There is so much information online, that we can sit for hours reading articles, blogs, and endless Facebook status updates. We say we don’t have time to read, but I’m certain that this is my key to reading more books.

10. Set a reading schedule.

Set aside a time each day to read, even if it’s only fifteen minutes. Maybe you have a few minutes after lunch, or right when you tuck little ones in for naps. I have a friend who sits outside her son’s bedroom door each night after putting him to bed and reads her Bible with the goal of reading through it in one year.

11. Join or Create a Book Group.

I read a wider variety and greater number of books each year because of my book group. Since we each choose a book, I’m stretched beyond my typical genres. We meet the first Tuesday of each month, and I try to finish the book (or most of it) before our meeting. We plan the year in July, so I often order them on Amazon and read several while we’re on vacation each summer.

If you would like to see what our group has read, here are lists from 2015, 2014, and 2013. You might also like the post, Ten of My Favorite Books From 2015.

12. Keep a list of each you book you read in a year.

You may be surprised by how motivating it is. I found myself quickly finishing books last December because I wanted to write them on my list. Silly? Maybe so, but I read more books in 2015 because of it.

Is reading important to you? What ideas would you add to this list?

We would love to hear from you.

encourage one another,



This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Bev
    January 20, 2016

    Our local public library offers books on Kindle for two week checkout, saving me from having to buy all of my reading material. I've found it is a challenge to find books worth reading so having lists like yours helps me to know what to look for at my library site.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 20, 2016

      I'm so glad my lists are helpful! I've checked out audio books, but not Kindle. I'll have to try that.

  2. Emily
    January 20, 2016

    13. Marry Ben Wynsma. You'll definitely be inspired to read more and enjoy lots of happy time together doing so.

    Oh oops except he's taken.

    ps Is that a wedding mug I see? 😀

    Love you!!!!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 20, 2016

      I'm glad you and Ben read together, and yes, that's my wedding mug!

  3. Elizabeth
    January 20, 2016

    No secret, but try very hard to follow rule #9. Not that I'm always successful, but the computer is off for good after dinner. Once the masses are in bed, that gives me a good couple of hours for reading. I find reading real books calms and rejuvenates me in a way reading on line doesn't. I think it's because reading only a printed text uses different parts of my brain than text on a screen. There are just so many more distractions for our brains to sort out online. I also find that if I go a while being relaxed about this rule, that it is very difficult for me to adjust again to real book reading. It's as if my brain has forgotten how to really concentrate.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 21, 2016

      Elizabeth, I have tried the same thing – turning off the computer for the day at dinner time. I can never last very long, it seems there is always more to do, but it's a great idea and would definitely increase the amount of time I spend reading.

  4. darci
    January 23, 2016

    Hello old friend <3 I am just trying to find time to read blogs of dear ones again…and you are my first pick! 🙂 I HAVE been reading a lot of books this last year, and loving's been a long time. BUT…ummm, I'm a toilet Facebook checker..eek. I have been considering a FB fast..I think you have just decided me.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 25, 2016

      So nice to hear from you, Darci. I've only had a smart phone for a year and it's amazing how quickly I developed bad habits. I'm trying to break them before they're even more difficult.

  5. darci
    January 23, 2016

    PS..I see a few books on your table I need to look up…;)

  6. Ellen
    January 26, 2016

    Miller's _A Praying Life_ is one of the top 3 (5?) most influential books I've ever read. It impacted my view of God as Father, my parenting, my praying. We do well reading aloud to our children, my husband and I. I'm going to try keeping a list of the books I've read, like you suggested. I need the most help with turning off the computer and walking away, but I'm going to do just that right now!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 26, 2016

      I'm so happy to hear you loved Miller's book as well. I'm almost ready to pick it up and read it again. And yes, turning off the computer is so important!


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