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Setting reading goals for your child and you

Get ideas for reading goals and some advice on setting them so you and your child will succeed and benefit.
Credit: 13 on your side

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kids who read regularly are more successful in school and in life according to studies. For adults, reading helps them relax, reduce stress, strengthen the brain, and reduce cognitive decline. So what we're saying is... it pays to read!

With busy schedules and electronic device distractions, it seems to be hard to read. At the start of the year, when resolutions are made, one thing on some lists is to read more. 

13 is ON YOUR SIDE with some advice on how to do that successfully.

The first step whether for yourself or your child is to set a goal that is realistic.

For Adults:

Read more books. If you're a voracious reader looking for a challenge or a new reader trying to get into the habit, saying "I want to read x number of books" is a good start. Pick a number that is a stretch, but reasonable. 

Spend more time reading. Set aside time specifically to read. Maybe take the tail end of your lunch break, or keep a book on the bedside table and read for 15 minutes before bed. 

Join a book club. This is great if you like being held accountable. By joining a book club, you have a group of people encouraging you, and you are more likely to stick to your goals because you want to keep up with everyone in the group.

Read your stack. Do you buy books with the hope of reading them, but they gather dust? Place what you have in a special stack or shelf and work your way through them.

For Kids

Read every day. Set a specific amount of reading each day. This needs to be done before video games or tv. Encouraging kids to read each day makes a big difference in their school careers.

Add one book a day. For the little ones being read to, add one book every day. If you normally read a book at night read two. If you read two, read a third. This can increase a child's exposure to words to an extra 78,000 words every year!

Read a whole series. Does your child love Captain Underpants? Wings of  Fire? Harry Potter? Set out to read the whole series over the course of the year. Choose a series that's at their level and subject matter.

Pick a new topic or genre every month: If your child sticks to one type of book, expose them to something new. Just one different book every month could help them find something new to fall in love with.

The key for adults and kids is to measure and track your goals. If it's out of sight it will be out of mind. Create a reading journal, a checklist, a log, or a family goal board. Make it a race, challenge each other, whatever it takes to make it fun and to keep it top of mind. Pinterest and other sites have many examples and the options really are endless.

Your local library also has many resources and may already have some challenges in place for the year. If you haven't been to your library in a while, take a family trip.

Good luck with your goals and happy reading!

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