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Recently a mom sent me a note saying she was frustrated that she did not have time to keep up with the reading she thought was important.

I had the same struggle until a few years ago when I learned something that totally changed my life. Perhaps these tips will help you as you plan your new year reading....and wish you had more time!

1. Know that most key points in an article or book can be gleaned without reading the whole thing.

Books and articles are designed to give both the facts and the illustrations. Facts and concepts can be gained without all the illustrations. That is why the business world can design executive summaries.

2. Be content to skim read when the choice is skim read or do without.

I will too often say "someday" to a book and it really is "never." Skimming has opened a new world to me. Some books I skim...while others I savor.

3. Read the first paragraph and then the first sentence of each paragraph.

As an author I have learned that most of the main points in a book can be found in the thesis statements of the book's structure.

4. If it is a book, start by looking at all chapter titles before reading.

Good chapter titles give you the flow of the book and make your skim reading much more effective.

5. Settle in your head it is okay not to read every word.

I used to feel like I had to finish a book like I needed to clean my plate. Now I know better on both counts! 

Let the Lord inspire you in the new year to read more effectively for spiritual growth and parenting maturity. And be sure and share these tips with your own kids. It really helped some of our kids break out of the I-don't-have-time-to-read box!


Image: Jen Hubbard “Reasearch”   via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

desk LisaBy Lisa Cherry

This week I have torn my house up moving rooms around. I love the summertime when I can afford the time for such deeper work. In the process of moving my office to Josiah's bedroom, I was forced to go through my piles of books.

I love books. I love to grow my life by stretching into new ideas. However, my time for reading is always fleeting (← tweet), and it seems so much easier to just jump online aimlessly!

Surely, I am not the only one with quality books sitting unread on the shelves!

So as I was packing and sorting and cleaning, I remembered what I have seen some very wise people do. They maintain a reading list. This has worked for me in the past for myself and my kids. With of a good reading plan, I can take advantage of moving through many works.

Here are my ten tips:

1. Shake the pressure to read every word.  Did you know that reading part of a book is better than not reading it at all?

I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to assist me to get what I need from each book.  I have learned to read tables of contents, opening chapters and then thumb through for the main points.

Look for bullets in the margins. Note the highlighted materials. And then feel free to put the book back on the shelf even if you do not finish every word.

books lisa2. Separate the books you are reading now out.  Putting the ones aside that you have currently assigned to yourself prevents you from being overwhelmed by the other dozens that could be sitting in the wait.

The same can be true for arranging your e-books in an order of priority. I put my hottest projects right on the top of my desk shelf

3. Place the books strategically:

On the night stand by the bed
In the car
In the bathroom
In your briefcase or bag
By your recliner

4. Have more than one book going at a time.  I usually have a few I am reading at once, so I am not keeping track of "that one book." That might not suit all people but it works for me.

5. Discuss what you are reading. Make your home atmosphere supportive for sharing your latest revelation. That causes everyone to want to have something to talk about!

6. Sit down with each child and help them make a list.  While respecting reading preferences, it is appropriate for a parent to guide the reading selections of their children and teens. Just like a good healthy diet commands attention, healthy reading habits are cultivated.

7. Consider the audiobook option. With all the electronic access of this generation, there is no reason for anyone to not be a reader. Audiobook apps are available for many devices.

8.  Use social media to share what you are reading.  My daughter-in-law Tara does this through her blog and Facebook.   See her posts here  and here.

9. Put what you learn to use right away, or make note of it.  Retool your life to include that new spiritual discipline you read about.   Reflect on the godly life you read about in that Christian biography.  Practice that new tip for time management that caught your attention. 

10.  The most important one: Pray for the right books.  I'm finding new excitement in discovering classic Christian books, biographies, and current authors. We don't have to stay addicted to Redbox and Netflix!

 As I work with my kids this summer, I will share some of our list of books we have planned. 

Have you read any good books lately?  What’s on your reading list?   Please leave a comment here and let me know.

Gratefully linked to

Works for Me Wednesday  Top Ten Tuesday  Women With Purpose

Encourage One Another     Faith Filled Friday