Make 2023 The Year You Resolve To Read: Seven Tips to Get Your Family Started

January 5, 2023

At the onset of the New Year, legions of people are in resolution mode. Exercise more. Eat better. Use that gym membership. Stay in touch with friends and loved ones. The fresh turn of the calendar page leaves most of us with a renewed sense of an urgency for self-improvement and better habits.

In 2023 if you are looking for one way to improve yourself and those around you, consider resolving to read. Whether you are personally looking to read more, or helping to equip your children with better reading skills and experiences, read on for seven tips for making 2023 your best reading year yet.

  1. Get in the Right Mindset
    To start, reading isn’t something that should feel like a burden or a chore. If you don’t enjoy reading already, then chances are you either haven’t set the right reading routines or picked the right reading material. See reading for what it is: a gateway to adventure, the means to connect to a story and those you love while reading aloud, and the vehicle through which there are endless possibilities for learning, escape, and joy. Reframing your mindset and attitude toward reading is the first step in resolving to read.
  2. Assess Your Available Reading Materials
    Once you’re in the right headspace for creating a culture of reading in your home, the next vital step is to assess what types of reading materials are available to you and your children. Do you have an existing to-be-read (TBR) pile in your home already? Were your kids gifted bookstore gift cards or a great kids’ magazine subscription? Will you become a library-going family and take advantage of both print and digital materials for free? If separated by distance, will you utilize United Through Reading’s App for sharing stories? You can order or request free books anytime to record from the app. Figure out what you’ll read and where you’ll access it so that you can set yourselves up for success.
  3. Set the Mood
    In addition to knowing how you’ll access your reading materials, consider also figuring out when and where you plan to consume your books. Will you play a fun audiobook for the kids on the commute to and from school or daycare? Do you have a light-hearted novel or true crime thriller you’ll savor in an evening soak in the tub? One great way to encourage children to read on their own is to help set the space in their bedrooms to foster reading. Have a convenient bedside table and lamp or a cool reading light handy so that they can embrace the comforts and pleasures of cuddling up with a good book.
  4. Make the Time
    You can decide you want to incorporate more reading into your life this year, choose the right reading materials, and set the mood to do it, but reading may not happen if you don’t actually make the time to do it. Whether it is your own personal reading or a nightly family evening on the sofa to read aloud, you must set aside dedicated time to read or it just might not happen. And if you feel like some of the magic is lost when you schedule reading for your crew, don’t worry. Putting it into your daily calendar or to-do list just further illustrates its priority and importance.
  5. Books– Everywhere, Always
    These days, there is almost no shortage of ways to consume reading materials. From print books, to audiobooks, or e-readers, books are literally everywhere. One way to resolve to read more is to make sure that you have reading options no matter where you find yourself throughout the day. Keep a book or two in the car to read while you wait in the carline or have your e-reader charged up to take with you to an appointment waiting room. For kids, have a bag you bring along in the car or stash some book baskets in various rooms in the house to help encourage spontaneous reading sessions. Better yet, have the UTR App loaded up and ready on any of your mobile devices for story time on the go.
  6. Track and Share What You Read
    Whether you use an app like Goodreads, a note in your phone, a downloadable graphic or printable (like the one here from UTR), display your kids’ reading progress! Having a visual or a way to look back over what you have accomplished with your reading can be a huge incentive to keep reading. Even if you don’t choose a formal way to keep a record of your reading, encourage your kids to share with others what reading materials they have consumed. Whether it’s sharing their reading log with a teacher or simply retelling a recent story they’ve read with a grandparent, experts agree that retelling is an important literacy skill that reinforces reading comprehension as well as understanding key details and events in a story.
  7. Remember Your Why
    In addition to added literacy skills and improvement, reading has many benefits. Children who grow up with reading materials in their homes and have parents who are readers or read aloud to them daily have significantly improved language skills, increased concentration, imagination, and creativity, and typically also cultivate their own lifelong love of reading. If the academic benefits aren’t reason enough to resolve to read in 2023, consider the relational benefits. Reading together with your child supports cognitive development, provides an increased bond with your child, as well as helps them to make connections with the world around them.

Our Literacy Tips are presented by Reader’s Digest Foundation.