My good friend Dr. Jay Strack often says, “You will be the same person five years from now except for the places you go, the people you meet and the books you read.” According to the book Making Disciples of Oral Learners:
* 58% of the U.S. adult population never read another book after high school.
* 42% of U.S. university graduates never read another book.
* Adults in the U.S. spend four hours per day watching TV, three hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.
Maybe you have had good intentions but just have not been able to pull it together. Perhaps you have multiple books started and unfinished or piles of books purchased but never cracked open. Let me suggest a basic plan for developing the personal practice of reading as a habit.
Make Your Reading Plan Personal
- Map out your month, quarter or year as to what types of books you want to read.
- Never be without a book, eReader or tablet so you can use those little spaces of time that come during your day.
- Simply commit to read a minimum of seven pages a day, every day. This does not sound like a lot but you will be surprised how many books you can read by doing this.
Formulate Your Plan Based on Your Field of Interest (Note: I gave the following plan to a group of Youth Leadership Consultants so I focused on youth and leadership.)
A suggested plan for focused reading (books)
0-6: spiritual growth (If you are in ministry and are only planning to read 0-6 books, then I suggest they all be focused on spiritual growth.)
7-12: add leadership and youth ministry (Once you move into the 7-12 range of books, then you can add these topics.)
12+: add general interest (culture, history, sports, new areas of interest to challenge your mind)
I suggest 80% books and 20% other reading sources
Some suggested sources of reading (non-book/current event/time sensitive)
Book summaries (David Mays) http://www.davidmays.org/Booknotes.html
Articles of interest
Tweets (links from tweets)
Capture What You Read
I underline and make notes in my books and eReaders. After I complete a book, I put the information from the book into some digital format that can be retrieved. Determine which format or program works the best for you and then capture the information.
If you have illustration/quote software you use that has really been helpful, I would like to hear about it. If you have some best practices for capturing the information you read, let me hear them.