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First Thoughts

Summer Reading Tips

I love summertime.

Getting away on summer vacation (or staycation!). The smell of burgers on the grill. The giggles of kids in the sprinkler in the backyard. The smell of smoke after the fireworks. The crack of the bat against the baseball. And – of course – getting lost in a good book.

Summer is often like a deep breath between the busyness of spring and fall, a reset of sorts. I want to encourage you this summer to cultivate the habit of reading so that you’ll keep it going throughout the second half of this year.

Here are a few tips to help you pick up the wonderful habit of reading this summer:

Read Something Fun, Fascinating, and Fruitful. I am a pastor. Most of my reading intake involves commentaries, theology books, and other non-fiction works. So, during the summers, I try to change things up. I try to read something fun – which usually is a book on baseball. I try to read something fascinating – this year, it’s a book on technology. And I try to read something fruitful – I just finished a small book on prayer. The point is to read something that you are going to enjoy reading. 

Read A Little (and Sometimes A Lot) Every Day. This is important. Do your best to read a little bit every day. Then, as you have the opportunity, try to have a long stretch of reading once or twice during the summer. Maybe there will be a day on vacation when you have a stretch of two hours when you can get lost in a book. Don’t worry too much about how much time you spend reading, just try to do it every day. 

Talk About What You Read. My wife and I emphasize “narration” to our kids. This is when we read something and then tell someone, in our own words, what we just read. This is a great way to have interesting conversations with people and a surprisingly fruitful way to retain what you read. When you finish a chapter, tell someone about what you read. Summarize it. You’ll be surprised at the fun conversations you’ll have over the summer.

Listen to a Book. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to read on the go. Perhaps you’ll be on a road trip with your family this summer, consider picking up a novel on audiobook and listening to it with your family. Maybe put your headphones in on a morning walk or while doing some work around your house. Most great books have an audio version. Take advantage of it!

Buy a Book in a Bookstore. Sometimes on vacation, I usually go to a bookstore and buy a book. There is something fun about perusing the shelves, reading the back of books, picking one, and beginning to read it. Sometimes it provides the motivation and excitement we need to get lost in a book. This is always fun to do with your spouse or a friend.

Reread. Have you had a book that had an enormous impact on you? Consider picking it up and revisiting again this summer. Sometimes these books come alive in new ways as we consider their content as you consider your current circumstances. You will be surprised by how old books pop with fresh relevance as you reread them.

Happy reading!

Spencer Harmon is the Nocatee Campus Pastor. He is the co-author of three books: Letters to a Romantic: On DatingLetters to a Romantic: On Marriage, and Letters to a Romantic: The First Years.

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