It’s a new year (or maybe when you’re reading this it’s sometime in October and you’re sipping a pumpkin spiced latte…)! Regardless, you want to set a reading goal for yourself, your kids and your family and you need all the tips and tricks. Well have I got some good news for you – you have landed on just the right blog post! I am all about setting goals in general, but there’s an extra special part of my heart for reading goals. Let’s hop into the why & how of all things reading goals for your intentional family!
Are you a video / audio person? Here’s a video version of this topic!
Why Set a Reading Goal
In general, goal setting provides alignment, direction, focus and something to strive towards. When your goals are an extension of your core values and greater purpose, they simply guide you along the path your life already wants to take.
Goals are tangible, trackable, quantifiable measures of your success and improvement.
For intentional families, setting a reading goal helps center your daily or yearly focus on something that matters to you – parenting through literature. By dedicating your family to a defined number, you are setting a benchmark. Something to work towards.
A solid, purposeful reading goal does not look like “I want to read more this year”. Rather it should be “Our family will read 100 quality, intention-filled books collectively this year”.
Again, establishing a quantitative (i.e.: definable) value for your reading goal will allow you to track your family’s progress, give rewards as you hit milestones and provide your children the opportunity to work collaboratively with you towards a common purpose in a way they can contribute to.
In other words, your contribution to the family reading goal is equivalent to your child’s contribution (1 book) so they get to feel like they are reading making an impact!
It’s not JUST about the number
Setting a reading goal for your family is not just about hitting a number, it is also about what you read. If you’ve hung around this blog long enough you should know by now that I truly believe what we read (and what is on our bookshelf) should be purposefully chosen. You can read about finding the best children’s books for your family values or download my free quick-start guide to building an intentional bookshelf to explore that concept of curating the books you read further.
Ensuring the books we read have some purpose and intention is also very much wrapped up into this reading goal. Now, every book you read doesn’t have to directly align with your core values and interest (though I recommend you don’t add the books that don’t to your family’s home library unless you have a good reason).
A purpose and intention filled book might be one that either:
+ Addresses a core value, interest or life situation you are facing
+ Sparks a broader discussion with your family
There are millions of books to choose from – so why not make sure the select few you read have some purpose? Because the purpose of setting the reading goal isn’t about getting to say “we read 100 books!”.
No, the purpose is that those books meant something and that setting the reading goal gives you some tangible, finite quantity to shoot towards.
Alrighty, now we know why setting a reading goal is important to do – but how do we set it and how do we actually achieve it?
How to Set and Achieve Your Family’s Reading Goal
If you recall from above, your family’s reading goal needs to be defined. It needs to be quantitative and specific. None of this “I want to read more” stuff.
Step 1: Choose a realistic number
A realistic reading goal means it is one you can actually see your family achieving. Take into account several factors:
How much time do you have to read with your child per day?
If you are only reading at night, count that as a single reading session. If you have time to read several times throughout the day, tally up how many reading sessions you have on an average day.
How much time do you have to read per day?
If you work, have multiple kids, have a spouse and/or other obligations…the likelihood that you can dedicate 10 hours a day to reading is pretty low (but maybe, who am i to judge?!). Take this into account.
How many books do you typically read during an average reading session?
For some families, reading time is very slow and mellow – you might be able to get through more books than families that have more chaotic reading sessions (ahem: mine). Alternatively, if you like to spend a lot of time on each book (there’s NO shame in that) take that into account.
What are your children’s reading levels?
If your children are reading picture books, you’re likely to whip through a couple of those a day. However, if they are on to bigger books like chapter books it’s more likely to take a few days or weeks to get through those ones. That is a factor.
When you set your number, be sure to include all family members and their individual contributions. For example, I know I am prioritizing reading this year and I read once per day at night for about 30 minutes (sometimes more on the weekend). My husband is prioritizing his technological education so he might only read one or two books this year. Addison is still reading board books and picture books with us at bedtime so we typically get about 1-2 in per reading session and we read once per day, but I want to leave some wiggle room to make it attainable so I’ll settle with 1 book a day.
The breakdown of the number for our family then would be:
20 Books (Mom) + 2 Books (Dad) + 1 x 365 (Addison) = 387 books
Another important note: these books (for Addison anyway) are certainly not unique. We do frequent the library but I don’t think we can realistically say we will read her a unique book every night. I am counting re-reading here.
Step 2: Choose The First Few Book Titles
It’s very easy to set a goal but not define any of the first steps which makes the goal feel completely unattainable. To get over this mental hurdle, I recommend you select the first few book titles you all will read.
You can do this process incrementally (so when you finish those first books, set your next few up and so on).
Here’s the first few books we are reading this year:
- Mom: Harry Potter 6, Harry Potter 7, Essentialism by Greg McKeown, Yes Please by Amy Poehler
- Dad: TBD
- Addison: After the Fall by Dan Sanitat, Goodnight, Batman by Michael Dahl, Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Step 3: Make a Plan
Related to choosing the titles, you need a plan to achieve a goal otherwise it will lay dormant. Breaking a goal down into actionable steps is the easiest way to take it one little chunk at a time.
Putting together a plan to achieve a reading goal doesn’t have to be hard!
Think about when you will realistically have time to read, and for how long, and then COMMIT to reading at that time, everyday, all year long.
Remember, reading is a skill and as you practice more yourself and with your children, it will become faster and simpler. Building it into your life as a habit will make it second nature and sooner than you think you’ll reach your goal.
For us, we commit to reading every night before bedtime (it’s very soothing anyhow, check out this post I wrote for Sleep, Baby, Love about the value of reading at bedtime). My husband and I do it as well, it’s not just good for little ones!
Step 4: Set Rewards
A very simple way to motivate your family to achieve their reading goal is by setting a reward they will earn when they reach it. The reward does not have to be extraneous or costly, but it does need to be wanted!
I highly encourage you to include your children in the reward-choosing process! Make them feel included in all aspects of your family’s reading goal and they are much more likely be active participants.
Here are some reward ideas:
- A family day trip somewhere special
- New books for everyone!
- Dessert night
- Family game night // movie night
- Have a party and invite your closest family and friends to celebrate your accomplishment
Step 5: Track Your Progress
Now, if you are serious about reaching this goal you have to track your progress in some way – otherwise how will you ever see how far you’ve come or if you’ve reached it?
There are many methods for tracking your progress – and it all depends on what kind of person you are and how your family operates best. The point is that for each time someone reads a book a +1 is added to your tracking, wherever you’re doing that. Then, the whole family gets to see the number rise with each new book read and celebrate when it’s achieved!!
Ideas for tracking your progress:
- Get a large poster paper and create a goal meter / bar with the reading goal at the top. Set reasonable increments that can be colored in when achieved (heck, you could even add small rewards to those ticks if you want to!)
- In The Intentional Book Club we have a way for you to click a button and track not only how many books you’ve read but which titles so that after a whole year of reading you can look back and see what all you’ve read through the year. You can join the club for free for 7 days here.
- Get a reading journal which allows you to write down all of the books you’ve read through the year and journal thoughts about them. My pal Tracy of Lu and Bean Read created these ones for kids. (You can use code ADDISONREADS at checkout for 20% off).
And there you have it – you are completely equipped to set a reading goal and achieve it as a family. I encourage you to take some time, whatever time of the year it is that you are reading this, and sit down with your family to choose a number. Keep track of what books you read and what their purpose is and how they add value to your life.
Ready to Explore the Topic of Goals as a Family?
Every month both here on Addison Reads and within The Intentional Book Club we have a very distinct theme. The objective of establishing a singular theme per month is it gives you the chance to explore and dive deep into the topic with your family throughout the entire month.
This month’s theme is G O A L S. If you are interested in delving deeper into this topic with your family, we would love to have you join us in The Intentional Book Club. In the club, we focus on inviting our children into the discovery and exploration of these larger topics through the strategic use of children’s books and activities. Every month members receive a theme bundle that includes:
- 5+ purposefully chosen book recommendations that relate to the topic
- 3 activity ideas centered around the theme
- 1 guest interview with an author, illustrator or expert related to the monthly topic
- A short video lesson for your entire family
- 2 digital badges to earn as a family for mastering the skill / topic of the month
Club members also have access to curated book recommendations based on their defined focuses for their intentional bookshelves, exclusive printables and resources, and are welcome to participate in our private community for purposeful parents.
I really want to hear what your family’s reading goal is – share your reading goal on social media and tag @addisonreads or in the comments below so I can cheer you on!