2019: Reading Resolutions & Turning Over a New Blog

henrietta's 21st

I’m only 23 days late with a Happy New Year to you all in Gracepoint churches in Berkeley and beyond! I cringe to notice that my last post was from June 1 of 2018, though I don’t cringe at the fact that I recommended reading I Can Only Imagine. I stand by my recommendation and will be recommending many more in the weeks to come. As usual, I am backlogged with books I have been telling people they just *have to* read.

For now though, I wanted to write a short post to assure everyone this blog is alive and kicking. I am going to build in some time to write here each day so that I can roll out a post every few days or so.  While Victor Hugo’s daily writing routine was admirable, I’m going to start with a modest 15 minutes a day.  Some of you know that last year, I experienced building a new habit of scripture memory (shout out to ScriptureTyper), and I started with just a few minutes a day, and now I’m up to quite a few verses. So hopefully, I can build up some momentum here, as there are so many great books out there that I want to share with you all!

One more thing — it’s not too late to make a 2019 Reading Goal or Reading Resolution. My goal is to read 168 books:

  • 42 non-fiction
  • 42 children’s/young adult fiction
  • 42 new picture books
  • 42 poetry/fiction (especially the books I’ve been meaning to read since forever…Brothers Karamazov, I’m coming for you! It wins for being on my TBR list the longest — since 1994, before many of you were born!)

What are your 2019 reading goals? Share them in the comments below, and let’s encourage one another to read more books this year!

Winter Reading Challenge Update & 2017 Reading Goals

Happy New Year, everyone! I bring you a mid-winter break update on the Winter Reading Challenge. So far we have 10 people who have completed 5 books, and many more who are almost there. You have until Friday, January 13 to complete the challenge!

Congrats to the following winners:

As a reminder, you do need to fill out the google form, as well as a comment on the blog FOR EACH BOOK. There are many people who have done one or the other. Unfortunately, those do not count. You need BOTH in order to officially log your books for the challenge.


With a new year, that means it’s time to set new reading goals. Some of you might know that I just celebrated my 40th birthday. So, during my 40th year, one of my reading goals is to read the remaining 40 of the 44 Christian Heroes: Then & Now books!

What reading goals have you set for 2017?

The Bibliopolis 40-Book Challenge

If you’re a parent of a child who is 4th grade and up, you know about the 40-Book Challenge already. This is not just for kids at Gracepoint Berkeley church, but throughout our Gracepoint ministries.

Here’s how it works: The challenge is to read 40 books (or more) throughout the 2015-2016 school year. No problem, you say! Well…not only do I want to encourage reading often, it’s important to read widely too. That means getting out of our reading comfort zones. We’ve all got our favorite genre of books, and that’s totally fine! But there’s not only one kind of text out there in the world, so we want to exercise all of our reading muscles. The 40 is kind of arbitrary; it’s not a magic number. It’s because it comes out to roughly one book a week during a school year. The main point is to see reading as a continuous thing, not just something we do in spurts. The goal is to establish reading habits, which can develop our reading lives.

The Genres:

  • Non-fiction (includes (auto)biographies, apologetics): 8
  • Realistic Fiction: 6
  • Classics (defined broadly): 5
  • Historical Fiction: 3
  • Fantasy/Sci-Fi: 3
  • Action/Adventure/Mystery: 2
  • Poetry (includes novels in verse): 2
  • Graphic Novel: 1
  • Choice (whatever genre you choose): 10

Wait a minute! Didn’t you say that choice is the most important thing in terms of fostering a love of reading? Why yes, I did. But you’ll notice that the largest genre “requirement” is actually the genre of their own choosing. AND they can choose whatever books they want to within the other genres.

For each child, the goal is to challenge yourself and to read more than last school year. So it’s not so much about the 40 books, but the personal growth. So if one kid “only” reads 29 books, but has come to like reading more than last year when she only read 3 books, that is a  HUGE WIN! Another kid might already love reading, so for them, I’m going to push them beyond 40 books. And it’s entirely doable. I challenge all of them to beat my record of 160 books last school year. I don’t think I can beat my own record, since my reading has ironically slowed down since becoming the official church librarian!

Some kids ask: “What do we get if we meet the challenge?!”

My response: “You GET to have read 40+ awesome books!” 🙂

And then I add that as an extra incentive, we will be having a Summer Reading Getaway where one of their church plant friends lives. Wait a minute! Didn’t you say that we shouldn’t “pay” our kids to read? Why yes, I did, but I also said that rewarding reading with reading is different.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to provide positive reading experiences, and to build up a community of young readers. Each group of peers has a googledoc where they log their books, pages, and mini-reviews, and the most delightful part for me is seeing them recommend books for one another, and just getting excited about reading!

Is your child participating in the reading challenge? How many books did you read last year? What were/are your reading goals for 2015?