Kerri Brown Parker, director of the NC State College of Education’s Media and Education Technology Resource Center, and Amelia Rodarte, a community engagement librarian with NC State University Libraries, have authored this piece to offer advice for people who are hoping to read more over the course of this year.
Are you looking for some tips, tricks and tools to read more in the new year? NC LIVE and the College of Education’s Media and Education Technology Resource Center (METRC) have some suggestions for you.
How to Find the Right Book
The goal of reading more can certainly be enhanced by knowing where to find books and also exploring ways to establish good reading habits. Jim Trealease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook and Stephen Krashen, researcher, author and independent/choice reading advocate both promote the idea that finding one “homerun book” or having even one strongly positive reading experience will help build a habit. So, how do you find that homerun book? Try some of these resources:
- NoveList Plus: A readers’ advisory resource that uses appeal factors and expert reviews to offer read-alike and listen-alike recommendations for fiction, nonfiction and audiobooks.
- GoodReads: A free online “social network” for readers allowing users to share books they love, contribute reviews and provide book recommendations. There are links to places to find books, trivia about books and “best of” lists as well to help you find a great next read.
- NPR Book Concierge: This free annual, interactive reading guide includes a genre-based listing of the best books of the year according to various sources at NPR. The interface is easy to use and easy to filter by multiple genres that you enjoy. For example filter titles include “For Music Lovers,” “Book Club Ideas” or “Funny Stuff” and so many more. Users can also layer the categories, for example, a search for books that fit “Family Matters” and “For Sports Lovers”
More Reading Recommendations from Kerri Brown Parker
Kerri Brown Parker has previously compiled lists of book recommendations for K-12 students and educators. Check out the full lists of recommendations below:
It’s useful to create a system to keep track of the books recommended from these resources or from friends. Consider lists using tools like Google Keep or within one of the reading-specific services like GoodReads or Biblionasium (for kids). GoodReads also has an annual challenge to set up for yourself so you can log books you read, keep track of books in a “want to read” list and meet any goals you set for yourself.
Where to Download Reading Materials
NC LIVE is North Carolina’s library cooperative, supporting more than 200 public and academic libraries. If you have a library card in North Carolina, you have access to more than 1.6 billion items in the NC LIVE collection. The first step in reading more is knowing how to get your hands on great reading materials.
All North Carolina residents are eligible for public library cards. If you don’t have a public library card, you can apply for a card online or in person at your local library.
E-book resources available via NC LIVE include:
- E-book Central: Features scholarly titles supporting student and faculty research, and general nonfiction on topics such as school and studying, career development, arts and leisure, and practical life skills.
- Ebooks on EBSCOhost: Features over 26,000 fiction, reference, scholarly and professional books online.
- Gale E-books: Has a searchable collection of online reference titles and test prep e-books.
- HomeGrown E-books Collection: A collection of more than 3,700 ebooks from a variety of North Carolina publishers. It includes popular and scholarly nonfiction, novels by well-known NC authors and award-winning short fiction and poetry.
- Hoopla: Features downloadable audio and ebooks on a variety of topics, including language learning, history, biography, classic literature and more. It is compatible with all popular e-readers and an app is available for download. Users will need to make a personal account to use this resource.
In addition to the NC LIVE resources listed above, you can find more ebooks and audiobooks at your local public library. Popular platforms include: Overdrive, Libby and NC Digital Kids. NC State College of Education students can also access ebook collections through our own Overdrive system and other ebook providers. Details are provided on the METRC website.
More Resources to Make Reading a Daily Habit
Amelia Rodarte and Kerri Brown Parker adapted these suggestions from their own experiences as well as from several online resources. You can check out these additional resources for cultivating a daily reading habit below:
Get Motivated to Read
When you know what you want to read, set up some habits to help you read more. If you have even just a 10 minute break in the day, use it for reading. There are no hidden rules that you can only read if you have an extended period of time available. Fit in short bursts of reading when you can.
It’s also useful to add reading to something you already enjoy doing. For example, read with a cup of coffee instead of scrolling through social media or add an audiobook to your walk. Try to always have a book with you — this is a great reason to try e-books. If you have a smart phone and it’s with you, then your book is ready to go! If you purchase books from a service like Kindle you can also sync an audiobook and an e-book so you have multiple ways to have that book with you.
We give you permission to quit a book! Sometimes readers get hung up on finishing that book that they just don’t click with – set a goal for yourself but give yourself permission to stop reading and try something different. It’s okay–librarians agree!
Finally, if you like building community around your hobbies and passions, consider joining a community related to reading. There are many online and virtual options for this — consider virtual book clubs like Facebook Book Clubs and GoodReads Groups, as well as Twitter or Instagram #Chats, and the ideas of online groups on this list from Book Riot. If you identify more with being an introvert, you might also be interested in exploring a “silent book club.”
Find a great read and build a habit to read more this year and see what you can discover in the world of books!