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Q&A Tuesday: How do you find time to read?

Becky from Our Peaceful Home asked on my book review post last month:

Crystal, I am intrigued about how you manage to read so many books and still do all you do with your blog, homeschooling, etc. Do you have any tips on finding time to fit in all the reading that you do? — Becky

Great question! I learn so much through reading: it challenges me, inspires me and educates me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today were it not for the myriad of meaningful and challenging books I’ve read over the past 29 years of my life.

I especially enjoy reading “non-fluff” books. There’s nothing wrong with reading for entertainment, but if you want to improve yourself as a person, I highly encourage you to choose books that will help you get closer to your goals and shape the way you think and live your life.

Here are some ways I’ve found to find time to read:

1. Make Reading a Priority

In most every case, you can make time for what you truly want to have time for. I read this quote in Honey for a Child’s Heart yesterday and thought it was so good:

“A busy schedule is the enemy of reading. Agreeing in principle with all the benefits of books, you may at this point simply sigh and say, ‘I wish we had more time for reading.’ But the fact remains that we arrange time for what we think is truly important.”

2. Always Have a Book Handy

I keep a few books I’m working on reading through different parts of the house. That way, if I have a few minutes of extra time, I have a book handy to pick up and read.

When I’m headed out the door for an appointment, when I’ll be riding in the passenger seat instead of driving or when I’m going anywhere that there’s a potential I might have some “dead” time, I bring a book along. Sometimes, I don’t even get to crack it open. Other times, I end up having unexpected waiting time and finish the entire book!

3. Read First Thing in the Morning

In the past six months, I’ve made reading a higher priority in my life as I feel like reading good books is one of best ways I can improve as a writer and blogger. One way I’ve carved out more time for reading is by doing it first thing in the morning.

On a usual morning, I get up early, take my shower and get dressed and then I spend 20 minutes in Bible reading and prayer. As soon as I’m finished with that, instead of opening up my laptop, I set the timer for ten minutes and read from whatever book I’m currently reading through.

I can usually read at least a chapter in that 10 minutes and I’ve found it’s a great way to start my day off. Plus, if the day ends up being very full and there’s no extra time for reading at any other time of the day, at least I’ve read one chapter of a book!

4. Turn Off the TV

I know this might not be a popular opinion, but I think you’ll get a lot more out of a good book than you ever will out of the majority of television programs. If you usually spend 30 minutes watching television every day, challenge yourself to devote half of that time to reading instead.

Since I watch very little television (most weeks go by without me watching any), that may be one of the reasons I have more time to read than many people. I’d choose a good book over television any day!

5. Turn Off the Computer

There are so many amazing blogs and sites and articles to read online, but sometimes it can become noisy overload. I prefer to just follow a few blogs and read books instead. I seem to focus better and get more out of books I can hold in my hand rather than reading articles on a computer screen.

6. Listen to Audiobooks

There are many of you who don’t have the luxury of a fairly relaxed schedule like me. You work full-time, you have a gaggle of children and your days are packed from sun-up to sundown and beyond. If snatching a few minutes of reading time seems beyond comprehension, consider audiobooks instead.

You can listen in the car, while you’re folding laundry, while you’re exercising… any time your hands are busy but your mind is free. I’ve only just begun listening to audiobooks at the encouragement of my husband and I’ve truly enjoyed this extra way to fit in more “reading”.

7. Read Aloud to Your Children

If you have children, reading aloud to them is one of the greatest ways to get reading in. Sure, you don’t necessarily read aloud books to them that you’d have on your personal book list, but it’s still so enjoyable to all share a book together.

We typically read aloud for 30 minutes to an hour every week day and it’s truly one of our favorite parts of each day. The girls almost always beg for “another chapter” when I’m finished — and I usually oblige because I’m enjoying the book so much myself!

How do you find time to read (if you do!)? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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  • kimberly says:

    I read on my lunch hour, in the car waiting at the bank, and bedtime. Nothing relaxes me like a good book.

  • When I was pregnant with my second child, I met a woman who told me that she had not read a real book since her second child was born (she has four children). I thought I was doomed to a book-less existence, but now I have two children and I’m reading as much as ever.

    I do most of the same things you do. I watch very little TV, I read in the morning and in snatches throughout the day. I can get a lot of reading done when I’m nursing my newborn (as long as his big sister is occupied or napping). I also force myself to turn off the computer. Thanks for answering this question! You still read a lot more than I do, so I was wondering how you did it.

    I was also wondering, how many hours per week do you work on your blog? And how many hours per week do your “helpers” work on it? I’m a new blogger, and I’m just realizing how much time all of this must take.

    • Crystal says:

      I do 4-5 hours/day Mon-Thurs., 3-4 hours/day Fri-Sat and I take Sundays off. The majority of this happens before 8 a.m. in the morning (when my kiddos get up) and during afternoon quiet time. I love blogging or I’d definitely not be waking up at 4 a.m. to do it! 🙂

      We’re averaging around 90 to 100+ hours total spent on blogging-related activities amongst my team. It sounds like a lot, but there are many, many behind-the-scenes things to take care of — as you well know! I mostly just focus on writing posts, interacting with readers in the comments/Facebook and overseeing my team. So much easier than when I used to try and juggle it all myself!

  • Melissa N. says:

    i have a kindle so its very easy to take tons of books with me to keep handy.

    • Melanie says:

      Agree with the Kindle. Makes reading while nursing a total snap.

      • Leigh Ann says:

        Ok, so I don’t have a kindle. Haven’t wanted a kindle because I like the smell and feel of books. BUT this simple little comment … might have swayed me entirely. 😉

        • Guest says:

          Leigh Ann – I held out for a long time on getting an e-reader for the same reason. I love books, love holding them, love the smell but I have to say…I LOVE my Kindle. It’s super convenient, super light/small to pack and carry around, and possibly the best is that I get a ton of free books through Here’s a link to show you examples of all the free books you can get (look at the Top 100 Free Books):

          • Leigh Ann says:

            Well, we are still thinking … but we may get persuaded sooner rather than later. But shhh, don’t tell anyone. 😉 I have been seeing all these free books. I’ve loaded them on my PC but never really read them. Going to have to think on this some more!

      • Megan says:

        I LOVE my Kindle way more than I ever thought I would. Reading and nursing? No Problem! No turning pages or trying to hold a book flat. I have an English degree and I thought that I could never love an e-reader as much as a real book but I am a total convert!

        • Lynn says:

          I also never thought I would like an e-reader, love the feeling of turning the page and being able to see how far to the end of a book!! But I got a Nook Color for Christmas and LOVE IT! I also love the children’s books on the Nook Color and the interactive Children’s Books they have. They have some of the Sandra Boynton books for children as apps – they can move the characters and make the pictures move – for example, at the end of the Going to Bed Book, my kids can touch the picture to make stars appear! They love that!! It brings a new dimension to reading for everyone in the family!!

  • Leighann says:

    I always have a book going. I read all the time. One way I have made it easier is to switch to reading books on the Nook; the books on there aren’t very expensive and you can get lots of free books as well. I read while I’m nursing my newborn. I read before I go to sleep every night. I try to read in the evenings. I read while the TV is on. Sometimes I read while I’m on the internet waiting for something to load.

    I, too, listen to audiobooks. I have found that I can’t exercise while listening to music, but if I listen to an audiobook I can exercise for much longer, especially walking, because I get caught up in the story. I load up audiobooks onto my MP3 player and go walking, and only listen to the audiobook when I’m walking. If it’s a good book, I want to walk just so I find out what happens next!

  • Joy M says:

    I am a full time WOH mom with 2 active kids, trying to cook my own meals, teach my teen to drive, exercise, coupon, and keep the house in some semblance of order. I do most of my “reading” in audio. The library has a lot of library books. I live outside of the county, so I pay $40 for an “out of area” library card. This is the best $40 I spend all year! I also “splurge” on a membership at It’s frivolous, but it’s something I really enjoy. I listen to a mix of classic fiction, current fiction, and nonfiction. I listen to some of the books that my kids are reading, and I find it gives us another way to connect.

    I listen while commuting, running errands–basically any time I am in the car by myself. Sometimes I listen with the kids in the car if it’s a book they are interested in. I listen while walking for exercise. I also listen whenever I have a longish chore that doesn’t require a lot of thinking. (I can’t listen while organizing coupons thought–I miss too much of the story.)

    I also don’t watch much tv; it’s just a habit I “fell out of” over the years. I have a show that I especially like and I try to watch that while clipping coupons once a week or every other week.

  • Sarah says:

    I read for 15-30 min when I get into bed at night (depending on how early I get to bed!). I find I need it to “turn off my brain” before going to sleep. Admittedly, this type of reading is generally more for enjoyment than self-betterment, but I do read quite a few books in a year. Before kids, I averaged 40-50 books per year. Now it’s more like 25, but that’s ok, too. 🙂 I also have time to read during my lunch breaks sometimes, and if so, I’ll generally read whatever is handy on my kindle app for iphone. In the days when I was nursing, I read a lot while pumping at work-one pro of pumping!

  • Regan Brown says:

    I think that these are great ideas to keep reading! I have a kindle & have it in my purse about 90% of the time. I have found that it has really increased my reading time quite a bit.

    I have a hard time reading “non-fluff” unless challenged by others some times, so I feel that it is really helpful to be a part of a book club, even if its an online club with people that you’ve never met. It really expands your knowledge just by the reading in general, but then you get to share insights with your fellow book clubbers, many of which you may never have thought of.

  • Heather says:

    I’ve also started reading first thing in the morning, while still laying in bed! The minute my feet hit the floor, the kids and the dogs are in motion. I try at night, at times I’m so tired, I know I met one of my goals!

  • Jennifer says:

    I read anytime I have a few minutes – lunch, standing in lines, waiting for kids’ activities to get over, before bed. I am trying to work my way through my “To Be Read” pile/bookcase. I also have a Kindle, so depending on if I remembered to bring it with me, I use it or the app on my phone. A lot of times, I have a paperback stuffed in my purse. I never leave home without a book!

  • Kathleen says:

    Great suggestions! I employ many of them myself–you can guarantee that the one day you forget to bring a book with you is the one day you’ll find some unexpected empty time, say in a waiting room, that could have been better spent reading. It’s heart-warming to me to encounter others who view reading as something worth prioritizing–hear, hear! I disagree with you on point, however–I believe good, quality fiction is more than “fluff” and can enlighten as well as entertain–and does far more for the mind (and, I would argue, the soul) than any television program. I enjoy non-fiction as well, but my life would be far emptier without my beloved novels and poetry. Having said that, I really enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing it.

    • Crystal says:

      Hey, make sure and read my post carefully. 🙂 I didn’t say fiction was fluff. I started to, but caught myself since I know many people benefit a great deal from fiction. And I enjoy reading quality fiction to my children, just can’t really get into it much myself. Maybe I’ll change one of these days… 🙂

      • Kathleen says:

        Oh, I read your post very carefully! Ha ha, any time someone is talking about how great books are, I’m all ears (or eyes). 🙂 You wrote, “I know this might not be a popular opinion, but I think you’ll get a lot more out of a good, non-fiction book than you ever will out of the majority of television programs.” So I was just saying, for me, good fiction is every bit as valuable as non-fiction–especially when compared with the average TV program. Anyway, just my humble opinion. Thanks for your posts, they are very good!

        • Ooh, I agree! Good fiction is priceless. I’m an avid reader of both fiction AND nonfiction, and I love them both for different reasons. There’s definitely “fluffy” fiction out there, but there’s some pretty fluffy nonfiction, too.

        • Good fiction touches me sometimes in ways that non-fiction can’t, I think it all depends on the person. I personally can relate better to a fiction story than a non-fiction one, as I am going into it thinking it is not true….I align myself with the character and am able to deal with things in my own life that way. I know….weird….

        • Heather says:

          I agree with all the other fiction-lovers here! I can’t do without it, although I do read some quality non-fiction also. I often slip out the library by myself in the evenings so I can browse in peace. Heavenly! I take the kids in the day, but it’s hard to go in the adult section with a toddler. I do most of my reading the evenings when the younger kids are in bed. Now the older ones (6 and 8) will read along with me, since they get to stay up a little later. When I nursed, then I was practically reading all day long! My husband would be amazed at many books I would read in the newborn period.

      • Kristine says:

        It’s interesting how everyone’s tastes are different. I’ve always loved to read, but I usually can’t get into self-help or advice books although I have benefited from some of the Christian parenting books that I’ve read. Most of the time I’m more interested in classic fiction, and a lot of it is available for free if it’s in the public domain. I have a Nook, which I love, and I’m always on the lookout for free contemporary books, too. I’ve read a few good Christian historical fiction books lately. I also enjoy theological works, but I get burned out on those after a while and need a bit of fluff just to unwind after a long day. I avoid books that are immoral in content, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading purely for entertainment value sometimes. 🙂

      • Marsha says:

        When my children were young I read very, very little fiction. In fact, most of the books I read had titles not unlike those that you’re reading now, Crystal – lots of personal finance, homekeeping, gardening, baking and preserving, kid-raising, and so on.

        My youngest is 7 years old now and lately the balance has tipped and I read much more fiction (in paper and via the Kindle ap on my iPod). I’ve wondered why that it is so and have come up with a few ideas, but nothing concrete. As others have pointed out, I’m finding the fiction just as enriching but know that I couldn’t have imagined reading so much of it back when I had littles.

        Now I’m back at work full-time and we have no childcare or housekeeping assistance and still I find that I can read 3 or 4 books a week. I think it’s true that we will make time for what’s truly important to us. Reading is important to me and it’s always accommodated in my schedule.

      • Meagan says:

        I read a TON of non-fiction books, but, I’ll admit that I do read some fiction, too. And, I’ll admit as well, I do read some fluff. I love books by Meg Cabot, and I read all the Twilight books and LOVED them. I’ve found that sometimes you just need an escape. I know that those books aren’t necessarily doing anything to actively help me become a better wife, step-mom, Christian, homemaker, etc. That’s what all the other books I read do. But, sometimes in life (especially as a second wife and step-mother where you’re dealing with a lot), you just need an escape, and I use some fiction fluff for that 🙂

  • Excellent tips! I hate audio books though, they move, way, way too slow, but my kids love them!
    I learned when I was a young teen, as the oldest of a large family to read a sentence at time, as I practiced, you get faster and faster. I basically, without realizing it, taught myself how to speed read. I can read a reasonably thick book 300-400 pages or so in an hour -and hour and half. Spread that out through out the day in 15 minute increments, it is not bad. Take a book with you wherever you go, when you have to wait, even waiting for kids to do schoolwork in the morning, whatever. It is how I accomplish many things, take advantage of every minute. I usually have a short free time in the middle of the day and one before bed. It is all about choices and what you choose to do with it. Reading is part of my life and my outlet… I make sure I take those fifteen- thirty minute time spots.

    • Kristine says:

      I don’t enjoy audio books either. I comprehend what I read much better if I can see the words on the page. My kids love to listen to audio books while they’re going to sleep, though.

  • Right now in this phase of life (whatever that means ;)- I’m back to reading before I go to bed, while sitting in bed, after everyone else is in bed too. I read my bible and then if I’m alert enough and motivated I read a book. I’m not into fluffy books at this time in life. I recently read (again) Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place” and now am reading “As America has done to Israel”…I recommend them both!

  • Stacy says:

    This is great Crystal! I have just started implementing reading a book in the morning after my Bible time and I like it. I’m reading the Ministry of Motherhood right now and find it is a good way to start my day and help me stay focused in my attempt to mother well.

    I usually keep one or two of my current reads under a cushion on the couch. That way they are handy whenever I happen to be sitting there.

  • Jennifer says:

    I always read at least a few pages of something every night before I go to bed. I’ve been doing this since I was about 12 years old so it is habit and I just can’t turn the light off until I read. I keep a lamp on my bedside table.

  • I am NOT a morning person…not even a little bit…so I read at night before bed. It takes me a long time to fall asleep, so I try to read my Bible and/or another book in the evenings. (I have a devotional I use for quick time in the mornings.) I turn off the TV (since there’s not much on anyway), and just read.

    My only challenge is in having books lined up. I just finished the last book in one of my favorite author’s series, and now I’m not sure where to go.

    • Kristine says:

      I’m not a morning person either. My reading time is at night before I go to sleep, too.

    • Anitra says:

      I sometimes use Amazon’s recommendations to find new authors (of fiction) that I’d like.

      Both fiction and non-fiction, I usually end up sticking the books on my Amazon wishlist so I can remember what they were – either I end up getting them from the library, or a relative will buy them for me at Christmas or birthdays 😉

  • Rachel K says:

    One thing I loved was using Audible! I was able to get 1 free audio book (with a code from a podcast I watch) and download it onto my phone. I listened to it while I vacuumed the house, mowed the lawn, and even while relaxing in the tub! It’s a great way to “read” a book when you can’t actually hold one!

  • Nancy says:

    I always read when I’m a passenger in a car too. Also on the treadmill at the gym (50 mins a time) and in bed at night last thing. I love to read and wish I had more time because I have a huge list of books to get to!

  • First, I love all of your ideas!

    I read constantly. While it was certainly easier to find time for it before I had a kid, I still read just about on the same pace as I did beforehand. One of the main things I do is that I know it’s really hard for me to read when my daughter’s around, so most of the time I don’t try. Instead, I do as many of my chores as possible when she’s awake, since they entertain her and on occasion she can even help. That way, by the time she goes to sleep, I’ve completed all or most of my duties and can sit down to relax with a book instead of doing housework. Works for me!

    Oh, and like you, I never underestimate the power of small chunks of time when reading.

  • I keep all my books by my bed and unless I’m drop-dead exhausted, I try to read for at least a few minutes. I’ve been amazed at how soon I can get through a book just by reading a few minutes every night.

  • Allane says:

    I agree that turning off the TV and computer are great ways to get more reading done. I don’t have a TV, so that’s no problem, but I will admit I get caught up in the online world from time to time.

    Lately I’ve been making more of an effort to get off the computer in the evenings and get into my book. I’ve had a lot of free time recently, and I finished two books (22 Sherlock Holmes Short Stories and Water for Elephants) in less than two weeks! When you find a good book, it’s hard to put it down!

    While my latest readings have been purely for entertainment, it’s good to let the brain relax and drift off, especially after a long semester…

  • Karen says:

    I usually try to read sometime during the day and sometimes at night when everyone else goes to bed.

  • Alana says:

    Some of my fondest memories are those of reading with my mom before bed each night. My favorite words were, “just one more chapter, please!” She ran a book store, so we always had heaps of fresh books to dive into. I can vividly recall the night when she and I read an entire Nancy Drew book. 🙂 I’m looking forward to forging that same bond with my children when the Lord blesses me with them.

    A few years ago, when I was going through some difficult stuff, I told my mom through tears that I’d give anything to be sitting on that huge beanbag, reading a Barbie chapter book. She told me that those years spent reading with me each night were actually some of the worst for her, but that she made herself happy by reading with me. It’s such a gift to read to your kids!

    • Annie says:

      I couldn’t agree more. My mom read to me every night, and I do the same for my kids. The ability to read well is fundamental to just about every kind of education. Teach them the love of reading and you’ll teach them the love of learning.

  • Alys says:

    I need to make a better effort to read, but life is busy for me. But my husband loves to listen to audio books. We live on a farm and he is on the tractor a lot in the summer. Anyway, he listens to a lot of books from a FREE site I thought I would share because some readers might like the idea of a freebie.

  • Erin says:

    The best way that I have found to read is to leave a book (or magazine) IN MY CAR. I don’t take it in and out because I will undoubtedly not have it when I arrive to school pick-up earlier than planned, have to sit and wait during those crazy 45 minute Birthday parties that you can’t really justify dropping your kiddo off and then going home just to come right back, when I’m the passenger (my husband hates this! sorry hubby, I gots to get my reading in!) etc.

    I also get ALL of our books from my local library. If they don’t have it (it’s a very small library bc I live in a small town outside of Wichita) they can almost always request it for me through inter-library loan. If they don’t have it, I just head 10 minutes up the road to the next bigger town/library. I don’t know what I would do without free library books, magazines and DVDs!! (even new releases – for free!) 🙂

  • Ginny says:

    I love to read and have since I was a little girl. I don’t often find time to read during the day, but most nights I carve out some reading time before falling asleep.

    I find it sad that so many people don’t read anymore. I ran the library at our old church and rarely had people coming in to borrow material. Granted, it was a small church of around 100 members, but you would think there would be more than a handful of avid readers. Non-readers are missing out!

  • charity crawford says:

    great tips!

  • Christa says:

    I am a first time stay at home mom to a six 6 month old and just recently I started reading while I breast feed and just finished my first book and getting ready to start another one. I have found this is the best time for me to read since I am just sitting there anyways .. 🙂

    • Alice says:

      Same here with my 3 month old. He doesn’t take as long to nurse anymore though, so I don’t get as much reading done! My husband also rocks him to sleep at night while I get ready for bed, and I can usually squeeze in a few minutes of reading then too.

  • Sandi says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the bathroom. Okay, so it may sound gross, but the bathroom is a place that we sometimes have to spend a lot of time in. I like to keep magazines like the Reader’s Digest and our church magazines in there. Also, if I want my husband to read a parenting book, about the only way he will is if he’s stuck with it in the bathroom. I know other people out there do it too–admit it!

    • Tammy says:

      I read in the bathroom!

      Once I was at a meeting and the boss suggested to read the leaders guide in the bathroom.She said it was only good enough for bathroom reading.Some people got so embarrassed!

      If I read in the car I will be sick!

    • Patty says:

      We have lots of reading material in our bathroom too. We call it “the library”….

    • Jennifer says:

      I, too, read while I dry my hair, and also while I floss/brush my teeth. Between the drying, flossing, and brushing, that’s probably about 15 minutes of reading! I tend to read pretty quickly, so it’s amazing how much reading I can get done in that amount of time.

  • Libby says:

    My husband and I read next to each other in bed before we turn out the light each night. I love that quiet time together! Also, I have a crazy habit of reading while I blow dry my hair each day! It takes me about ten minutes and is easier on a Kindle, but with a paper book, I use a bottle of lotion as a paper weight and read while I dry. I’m sure this is taking multi-tasking a bit far, but I love making more of that time. Also, in the bathroom or while I am waiting for something to cook or bake. 🙂

    • Heather says:

      Oh thankgoodness I am not alone…I too read while blow drying my hair and have done it since I was a kid. My husband still thinks its nuts after all these years! 🙂 We are avid readers in our household and we all have book going everywhere, but my other favorite place to read is while on my treadmill. I like to read at least a chapter during my warm up and then put the book down and crank up the tunes (I have a love/hate relationship with that treadmill, so reading while on it makes it more enjoyable. I solely dedicate a book to only read while on it so I am motivated to read more!)

      Also, our 2 yo daughter loves books and has her own extensive library already, which is wonderful…love that we set the example & that we are raising a reader! I used to babysit 20+ years ago for a family of three kids who adored reading so much that their parents told me that their punishment for being bad was to take away reading from them at bedtime! How sad, but it worked! 😉

      • Katie says:

        I read so much as a kid that making me come out of my room was how I was grounded. I hated not being able to read!

    • Leigh Ann says:

      I love this! Now, if I just had time to blow dry my hair … but still. I love this! These are great practical tips. If you want to read, there is a way to do it. 🙂

      • Beth says:

        I totally do this! I have super thick, curly hair and I flip it upside down and blowdry it (that’s all I do with it) but it takes a while to blowdry so I’ll usually read something (and sit down, haha!) or use my mobile phone to use the Bible app or check email, etc. 🙂 Everyone used to make so much fun of me for doing this….so it’s nice to know I’m not alone, haha!!

  • Casey says:

    It’s so encouraging for me after I read your post! I love reading, but have been distracted by all kinds of new things happening in my life after I had my second child. I have to admit internet is a big factor because I easily lost track of time while surfing the internet. I’m going to apply your advice on cutting half of the TV time for reading on my internet time – whatever time I’m on internet I’ll cut half of that for reading.

    I have a thought – have you ever thought about creating a section here for book club? So your readers can share books read and sources of getting good books. Just a thought, thank you so much for sharing!

  • JT says:

    I always try to read right before I go to bed. I find its the perfect time to read, as it helps me wind down from the rest of the day. No matter how much I read, though, I still find that there are more things that I want to read than things I can find the time to read.

  • Jl Johnson says:

    Not sure if it counts but I get audio books and I listen to them on my commute to and from work.
    Also when nursing my baby to sleep (tsk tsk I know many mamas are saying…but whatever…) when I lay there until she hits that deep sleep gives me about 15 minutes of reading time.

    • Me too. Love this 🙂

      • Beth says:

        Sometimes it’s hard not to do this….they’re so sweet and beautiful as they drift off to sleep! 🙂 With my last son, it was the ONLY time he sat still….and let me cuddle…EVER. He was super colicky. I remember those rare times fondly. 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    I think you nailed it on the head with your first suggestion! Make reading a priority! It is definitely a priority in my life. As Thomas Jefferson said, “I cannot live without books.” 🙂

  • When I’m at work, I read while I pump milk for my baby. I do hands free pumping. Reading helps me relax while I pump!

    At home, I read while I nurse the baby. I also have a bad habit of reading while I eat lunch!

  • Melinda says:

    I think scheduling a time is the big thing, just like any other important activity schedule it in. Especially reading to your children, I try to make it a priority to read to my children at least 1/2 hour a day, which goes by really quick once you get started.

  • WatchTheGap says:

    Don’t be so quick to discount the computer as a tool to get in some good reading. I breastfeed my son while on the computer much of the time, and the kindle reader has allowed me to get in some good reads while stuck at my desk. If I try to read an actual book while nursing, it’s too distracting for my son.

    • Crystal says:

      Great point on using the computer to read an ebook. I wasn’t referring to using it in that sense (I can’t stand to read ebooks on the computer; I always print them out!), but that’s definitely something that works for some.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  • This is so wierd(almost psychic)…I was just thinking about it the other night that I should put it on my blog (…Crystal beat me to it but she did a great job at it…
    While as a mom I am always on the hunt for the right books that my kids are to read…books/magazines in my opinion are the only to soak up and keep up with what’ going on in this world( politics/the theories/new findings etc.)…I remember too many times I have gone out with my career-working gfs to find out there is always something I don’t know about(though nothing is wrong with having an avid listener)…Nice to have their attention piqued for a change when I have come across a hot topic…even our kids when they come from school excitedly recounting some facts, I want to know I beat them to it….

  • Julie says:

    We are big readers in our house too! Well, everyone except my husband.
    The one thing my kids like to do at lunch time (we homeschool) is listen to books on tape. Lunch can sometimes drag on for 1-1.5 hrs. I have to turn the book off or they will keep listening. A few years back I read my kids the Little House on the Prairie series. We just finished listening to them on tape a month or two ago. They absolutely loved, loved, loved these!!! We are now looking for a new series to listen to at lunch. We have listened to one or two single books, but they seem to like the series more.

    • Maria says:

      Try the Ralph Moody books. They’re about a young boy growing up on the prairie and in Colorado on ranches and farms. We loved them when we were young. I also enjoyed the Borrowers series.

      My mom read the Moody books to us, as well as the Little House books, which she read 5 or 6 times. She had to reread them every so often as the next child got old enough to enjoy them, and of course all the rest of us would listen in.

  • Sabrina says:

    I read every night before bed. It helps me unwind and drift off to sleep. A complete addiction….but a healthy one. 😉

  • Maine Mummy says:

    Wow. I wonder what you actually consider “non-fluff” since Dickens, Austen, Salinger, Morison have all written what are considered Great books (yes capital G). It disturbs me when people recommend non-fiction like this to the detriment of fiction. But then I suppose each to his own, I consider what you read to be “fluff” no matter how helpful you personally find it to be.

    • Crystal says:

      I consider fluff books to be trashy novels or books with no moral value or positive content. There are plenty of fluff non-fiction books, too — I’ve started and stopped many of them for this reason. This is why I didn’t say fiction books are fluff, I just encouraged people to not read non-fluff books. 🙂

      I read classic fiction to my children and look forward to reading many more to them in the future. I just don’t feel like trashy novels are helpful to anyone just like I don’t believe trashy movies or tv shows are healthy, either. We only have 24 hours in our day, so I believe it is wise to choose books that will impact your life in positive ways.

      All this to say, I’m sorry that I offended you so deeply. It was in no way my intention to, which is specifically why I didn’t equate fiction with fluff, since I know there are many people who have benefited a great deal from great works of fiction. And I hope to someday be able to enjoy them as many of you do!

      • Beth says:

        I don’t remember you saying that fiction books were “fluff?” Maybe I misread this post? I thought you just said that you personally weren’t that into fiction, but maybe that’s just how I took it. I love both fiction and non-fiction. My biggest struggle is making myself relax long enough to read a book myself and focus on it, generally it’s reading books to my children. Email and random things I can do without much thought and multi-task more easily….but I LOVE to read and have a hard time doing it “intermittently” like a lot of readers are stating that they do. That’s interesting to me. It takes me a while to get focused, so 10 minutes would be much too short for me. 🙂 If I would start a book and read it for 10 minutes and let myself get into it, I would quickly be absorbed and read the entire book before too long to the detriment of everything/everyone in my house! 🙂 I know part of it is because I’m lazy as I’m currently in my last month or two of pregnancy and find myself so tired I head to bed early and cant’ seem to get my body out of bed until my toddlers wake me up! 🙂 Any tips for that from moms of newborns/toddlers? I think I would be falling asleep during nursing instead of reading, haha! 🙂 I think I just need to make it a priority….this was such an encouraging post to me, reminded me how very much I love and miss books. 🙂

        • Crystal says:

          Yes, I didn’t say fiction was fluff (some is, some isn’t, in my opinion — just like some non-fiction is and some non-fiction isn’t). A few people just misread the post to think I was saying that so I thought I’d better clarify!

          • Heather says:

            Perhaps it is just that us great literature lovers love it so much that we hate to see it not particularly mentioned or recommended in a post on reading!

            • Crystal says:

              I really wish I could love fiction. Most of it is just so incredibly dull to me to try to trudge through unless I read it aloud to my children. Is there hope for me to someday love great literature?? 🙂

              • KimH says:

                Great literature is nothing more than one persons opinion and others jumping on the bandwagon..

                Have you read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran? Its great literature and its a wonderful way to teach your children about living a beautiful positive Spirit-filled life.. Maybe you’ll like it if you havent.. I fell in love with it when I was a teen-ager & so did my daughter.. and shes not a reader.. at all!

                Perhaps you just havent found your niche regarding fiction yet.. or maybe you should come up with your own. 😀

          • Maine Mummy says:

            I’m still reading your words in the same way but I appreciate the explanation behind them. 🙂 Heather’s right, it’s hard to see reading recommended but not fiction that improves your life.

  • jana says:

    i read every day and just try to fit it in where i can. i will read before bed, during lunch breaks (when i’m not running errands), in the bathroom…i will steal any minute i can to read. for instance, yesterday, while i was waiting for dinner to bake in the oven and the pasta to boil on the stove, i stood by the sink and read. i figured i could keep an eye on dinner and get in a few minutes of reading at the same time. i’m not big on multitasking but that was productive.

  • Leigh Ann says:

    These are great tips. Several of them I do myself.

    I have a 5 month old. In the early months of nursing, I would keep a book by my “nursing station.” I read several books in the wee hours of the morning. This was before nursing while laying down worked. 😉 Not only was I able to read several books, but I was also able to nurture my soul.

    My husband and I also make it a practice to read together. This is one of our favorite things to do. We read books on marriage, health, and lots of fiction. Right now we’re working through the Harry Potter book series. I’m his book on tape 😉 It has been a wonderful (and frugal) way to grow closer in our marriage. Just sharing together is wonderful!

  • Erin says:

    Excellent post, Crystal! I had to give my 2 cents on #4, the TV trap.

    When we moved to Pittsburgh at the beginning of the year, our movers delivered our TV to the basement all nicely wrapped up with blankets and packaging tape. We decided to shove the nicely wrapped package into a dark corner and go TV Free.

    Best Decision We Ever Made!!!!

    Our 7 YO daughter comes home from school and PLAYS.

    Friday night is DVD night … one of our favorites is Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom oldies from You Tube. =)

    Hubby and I spend time TALKING for a couple hours before we go to bed.

    An added bonus was reducing our cable bill by $13 per month. =)

  • Ashley says:

    Crystal, Once again you have been an inspiration. I am working on being able to stay at home, focus on my website and have more children. I currently have a two year old (almost three) I can relate alot to your personal posts and I love to partake in all the deals you post. Some I end up reposting on my site(of course giving you credit) Crystal keep up the good blog posts and I hope to be able to put more time into my blog like you. Thanks again.

  • Michelle H. says:

    Great suggestions! I listen to audio books in the car and while running to try to get in more reading, since it’s hard to find the time with 2 little ones and a full time job. I commute about 1.5 hours a day and a good book helps the time fly!

    Thanks to Crystal I get quite a few magazine subscriptions for free and have started keeping a stash in the car for those times I get stuck somewhere and need to kill a little time. If I finish the magazine while I’m out somewhere I tear the address off and leave it for someone else who may be interested. Gives a little extra variety to the dentist waiting room!

  • Cassy says:

    I read constantly! I am a full-time student, I work full-time, I have a family and I write a blog. However, there is always time to read! Like you, I always have a book with me. I even keep back-up books in the trunk of my car. You never know when you find yourself somewhere boring and you have forgotten a book. If I am reading a really good book you can catch me reading while I’m cooking or even reading a few pages as a little break when I am doing my homework. I’ve been this way since I was a kid, so there is never an issue of not being able to find the time.

  • Elle says:

    Keeping a book with you is the key because it is almost inevitable that down-time will come.

  • I’m glad to see so many people say they read while nursing! I had so many people tell me I should only focus on bonding with the baby while nursing, but it was so intense in the beginning I had to do something to keep me awake, you know? Now I have 2 kids and sometimes the only time I sit down is to nurse! 🙂

    I have a long ride into the city on the metro so I have plenty of time to read, and I read all sorts of stuff — trash, non-trash, literature, non-fiction, grocery ads whatever, I love to read!

  • Christy says:

    As a working mom, I find it easier to watch TV after the kids go to bed than read because I can fold laundry, straighten up, or grade papers while watching. I guess I could do audio books…. I am a teacher, so I do read during the summer. I find I can get the laundry, straightening, etc. done during the day and read at night after the kids are in bed.

    I have read books while nursing also. Once they hit about 6 months, they start playing with the book and grabbing pages–I saw someone said something about a Kindle, that might work. I also check my e-mail and blogs like this one while nursing, as long as I can use the mouse and scroll arrows and very little typing, it works.

    We do listen to audio books on trips that we get from the library. Our 4 year old watches DVDs with wireless headphones so we can listen to whatever we want and the baby doesn’t care! Road trips are honestly how I have done the majority of my non-summer “reading” since having kids.

    I HATE sitting around and doing nothing so I always have something to do with me. During the school year, that may mean papers to grade or my laptop to create SMARTboard lessons. It could mean a magazine, book, or thank you notes. Something is always with me so if I have to wait in a waiting room (esp. if I am kid-free), it is not wasted time. I hate nothing more than being stuck in a waiting room for an hour and then having to grade papers for an hour after the kids are in bed knowing I could have already done so!! I have even graded papers and read books when stuck in traffic (I mean stand-still traffic when there is a wreck or something and you literally don’t move for 30-45 mins.).

  • Audio books are great! I’m a huge reader, and I truly believe as a result my kids are too. They all devour books like candy in hardbook or audio. To illustrate the power of audio books, we made a very silly video that can be seen on our website.

  • I work full-time, and I am one of those people who is busy from sun-up to sun-down (not by choice). My dream is to stay home. However, I love reading and have made it a priority.

    At work, I eat my lunch at my desk while working, then I devote my whole lunch break for reading.

    I also try to read before bed and some on the weekends. I only average about 2 books/month, but I’m thankful for that right now in my life situation.

    I agree that you make time for what is important to you. I don’t do any extra activities besides church, because being home when I’m not working is a high priority for me.

  • amber says:

    I do lots of my reading while the kids are outside playing. I sit in a chair near them while they play. Also when they are getting a bath at night. I sit in the bathroom and read while they play. Since most of my books I only pay 25-50 cents for at yard sales, it is a good cheap entertainment.

  • Veronica says:

    My youngest has graduated homeschooling now, but up until then we read aloud – even through high school. We read all sorts of things, and Shakespeare’s plays are so much more fun read aloud! When the children were young, I read during naps or quiet time. Once they were old enough to read, I used to call it book time, and everyone had to put down what they were doing, and read. It was good for them, but good for me, too, since I had to set a good example and read also. I still read quite a variety of fiction and non-fiction. I also recommend dailylit – they email a small part of the book daily, which is great for the huge novels you mean to read, but never get to.

  • Emilie says:

    For those of you looking for a series to read to your children: my two older boys (10 and 8) loved the “39 Clues” books. I read them aloud to them at bedtime. They are history based, but also adventure. There is a boy and girl who are solving a mystery. We read the first 4 and then I think they were ready for something different. We will get back to them but for now have moved on to Harry Potter. We just finished book 3 of Harry Potter. My boys are begging me to read to them! I love it!!!!!

    We curl up and I read three short childrens books to my 4 year old first as he usually falls asleep while I read to the older too. He can not sleep without at least one book. He loves any by Sandra Boynton!

    I too love to hear, “just 5 more minutes” or the best I heard the other night after much pleading with me to continue to read was, “how about just 2 more sentences, please mommy!”

    I need to log off and start turning pages! I need to get back to reading. Why did I stop for the computer? I need to get my priorities back in line! thanks for reminding me!!!! I am thinking about setting up a reading spot in my yard for over the summer. Comfy chair, table for a glass of water…hmmmm the posibilities.

  • Mona says:

    If I closed my lap top I would have so much more time for everything! I’ve been trying hard to just stick to a few blogs that I like and save the others for when I have a few spare minutes. It does help that my lap top is fritzy and overheats and shuts down randomly. 🙂 Then I have to let it sit for a while…longer now that the days are hotter. I used to read a ton and since I’ve had kids, I haven’t. I have lots of books to read, but haven’t made it a priority. I need to work on that too….

  • Marguerite says:

    I read first thing in the morning while having my coffee. I am lucky enough to have 15 minutes or so when no one else is up. I also read at night. I check the weather, pick out clothes for the next day, then I shut off the TV and read for 30 minutes to and hour or so. It is a great way to start and end my day.

  • Elizabeth Sue says:

    My husband is in Graduate school, works full time, and has an internship on the side as well and he finds time to “read” by listening to audiobooks on his commute to and from work. This week he started “48 days to the work you love”

  • Annie says:

    I have found that I can easily read non fiction books in small bites despite lots of distractions and interruptions, but I get cranky if I’m reading fiction (I like classic literature) with lots of interruptions.
    When my first 5-6 kids (I have nine kids) were little, I could read while nursing during certain times of the day with minimal distractions while the older children played. My husband is very extroverted and social, so if I read in his presence, I read aloud and he enjoys it. Now that my children are all older, (youngest is 5) I find that my distractions and interruptions are much more frequent or require more attention, time and patience because their needs are not as simple. Keeping the TV off and constantly adapting my reading habits to my family needs, and reading aloud for everyone’s pleasure have been key for me to find time to read.

  • Amanda says:

    I LOVE to read and normally have several books going at once. I compiled a list of top 100 books to read from numerous websites. It is now 200+ books long. But its opening up to types of books I wouldn’t normally read. I also have my don’t have to think books where I can just read and let go of my daily worries. I try to read some books that will help improve my life as well. I know you keep a list of what you are reading this year, do you have any recommendations of books that you’ve read in the past.

  • Nicole says:

    I finally added a few books I’d been dying to read (or re-read) to the curriculum of the high school English classes I teach. The kids and I all read Great Expectations and The Jungle. Two birds, one stone: lesson planning and reading what I want. Essentially, though, I had to give myself homework to find the time to read.

    I’ve pretty much given up on reading “grown-up” books throughout the school year and I know I’ll never come close to finishing my summer reading list. So, I read YA lit with my biological children and my school children that interests me instead. I ended the year with The BFG (with my 5 year old), Chasing Lincoln’s Killer and Chains. They were all really good and I got my reading fix until I get a moment to read Three Cups of Tea, In Defense of Food and Water for Elephants (finally!).

  • sona says:

    My bookreading story is about my SIL. We had only met him once before and had come to visit for a short time and while there we decided to go into town and see what there was to see. He lagged along behind us, walking with his face in a book the whole visit! hmmmmm wonder if that is a statement about us or him! :o)

  • Lea says:

    When my boys were little we always had “DEAR” time Drop Everything And Read… This not only showed them that mom and dad like to read and felt it was important, but it gave us a family quiet time leading into family Bible Study int he evening. The wee ones were either read to or given hard back books to “read” during that time… it also taught them to be quiet during small blocks of time… I am happy that all my children ( 4 grown men now) love to read and my husband and I as empty nesters continue the practice …sometimes we choose a book we are both interested in and read aloud to each other… makes a great bonding time and much conversation.

  • Cassie says:

    Ok so where do you get your ideas as to what books to read? I’m sad to admit I’m one of those moms who hasn’t picked up a book, besides the ones I read my kids!, in years! Right now my older 3, DH and I are reading Harry Potter year 1 together. But I’m feeling the urge to keep my mind working. Love the audio book idea as we are in the car quite a bit, but other than that I need help!

  • Jenna says:

    On a side note, I saw that big pile of books and was wondering where you buy your books. It’s so expensive to buy retail and my library doesn’t have a lot of the self-help books. Just wondering. Thanks for the post.

    • Amanda says:

      Watch the papers for book sales. Where I live there are 2 major book sales a year for non profit organizations and sometimes the libraries have book sales. With the non profit book sales, I can usually walk away with at least 20-30 books for me and 10 for my daughter for around $20 or less.

  • Nisrine says:

    With a baby, I found that the best way to get my reading done is reading while nursing. As she gets older and nurses less, I find it best to read while I’m laying down or sitting next to her while she plays with her toys.

  • Erin Schell says:

    I enjoyed reading this post. I just have a quick question. Where do you find free or inexpensive books for the kindle. Thanks for any insight. Erin

  • Guest says:

    I use pretty much all of the same tips you provided except the best time for me is at night after the kids go to bed. Rather than watch TV, surf the web, etc., I use that time to read.

    A HUGE help for me has been having a Kindle. I carry it in my purse at all times so i can read if I’m stuck in traffic or sitting at the dr office, etc. It’s also been great because I get so many free books and with the wireless, I get them instantly!

  • Natalie says:

    It sounds weird, but in the bathroom! It’s easier to just stay in there and, even just sitting on the lid when you don’t need to utilize the facilities, escaping from the craziness for a few minutes with a book.

  • anon says:

    I read late at night, sometimes till 3 AM. (I have to get up at 6) I like to write, too. I agree that we tend to find time for the things we think are really important.

  • Chanda says:

    I’m guessing someone probably already mentioned this, but I didn’t read through all of the comments. When my son was nursing I kept a book (or stack of books) right next to the nursing chair, then I could pick one up every time we sat down to nurse. I read so many good books during those 16 months!!

  • Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing Crystal!

  • Paige P says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned or not, but I’m a homeschooling mom, as well. We read at different points during the day, but one of my children’s favorites times to read is at lunchtime!!!! They eat, and I read to them. No fussing, no crazy conversation; it’s a nice, quiet, peaceful meal time. They absolutely LOVE lunchtime read-alouds (and that book is different from read-alouds that we do other times of the day). I typically then eat after they do.

    • Crystal says:

      My mom always did that when we were growing up. I’ve been working on implementing it at our house, too, since I loved it growing up!

  • Becky says:

    I get up early every morning to do a quite time for 20-25 minutes, then I read a fun book everyday while working out on my elliptical (it is amazing how many books I read since I started reading instead of watching the news!). I also find that I fall asleep much better if I have read for 15-30+ minutes before I go to bed.

  • Heather says:

    I read. A lot. So I get asked this question by other moms. My first thought is always, “How do you NOT find time to read?” A life without books sounds as inviting as a straight jacket to me.

  • Grace says:

    i work 10-20 hours per week from home. I read between phone calls. Granted its broken up mostly, but on top of being able to read, Im getting paid for it 🙂

  • Lori says:

    I read while I workout…Really! I put my treadmill on the incline all the way (10% is as high as mine will go) and then walk at about 3.5-3.8 mph. This burns MORE calories as walking the same amount of time with no incline at a faster speed! It is great because I don’t feel “guilty” reading and it makes the exercise time pass that much quicker!

  • KimH says:

    I’ve probably read thousands of books over my life and I’ve enjoyed all sorts. For the last 15 or so years I’ve enjoyed books that help guide me in my life or teach me something Im interested in… however, every once in a while I just need some good mindless garbage.. like a historical romance.. It doesnt have to be quality anything.. but even then, I still enjoy the history spread throughout them… Thats how I learned I love history.. 😉
    Im a busy bee.. I work outside my home full time, coupon, involved in several groups, garden, hobby photography and a dozen other hobbies, so I take about an hour a day to read by taking a book with me to soak in the tub infused with lavender essential oil for 20-30 minutes every night.. at least 360 days a year, without fail. Then I head to bed and read another 20-40 minutes.. Sometimes longer, but usually I try to stay within my time limits I have set.
    I too dont watch tv.. its the rare day I do but I am on the computer at least 1-2 hours a day so I guess it all evens out timewise..

    Every once in a while on the weekend, I’ll just stay in bed on a Saturday and pick up where I left off the night before.. That doesnt happen often either but it sure is enjoyable.

    • Crystal says:

      Love the tub and lavender essential oil idea! Sounds so relaxing!

      • KimH says:

        I raised 5 children (2 of mine, 3 of his) and our house was the teen hang out too all while I was working outside the home & then coming home to cook, clean, & all the rest… The lavender tub was my introduction to learning how to truly do something necessary, loving, and kind for myself.. 😀 Kiddies are all grown now & most have flown the coop.. but the tub ritual continues on.. ♥

  • Darleen says:

    I did not read all the comments, but one of our favorite time to read is while the children fold clothes, Mom reads to them – multi-tasking!

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