How to Find Time to Read for Pleasure

Emily H. Moore self

A reluctant reader growing up, I didn’t truly discover the pleasure of reading until my twenties. But soon my career and then the early months of motherhood left me too exhausted to keep my eyes open if I sat down. As my son has grown, I’ve been rediscovering the joy of reading whenever I find time. And finding time to read has become my specialty. These strategies may help add more reading to your life, too.

Start small

Begin with a short story collection or a book with chapters you can read in a few minutes. Carry a book in your purse or diaper bag for when you’re stuck in the school pickup line or the driveway with a sleeping toddler. Instead of paging through Highlights in the waiting room, use your phone’s e-reader app.

Embrace audiobooks

These are fantastic for busy women. You can play them through your smartphone while exercising, making dinner or running errands. When the appeal of listening yet again to your children’s favorite movie is gone, pop in earbuds and drift away. Librivox has free public domain audiobooks read by volunteers, or try a free trial with Audible.

Read to relax

When the kids are in bed, recruit your husband to clean up while you read in the bathtub. Not only will he appreciate a more relaxed spouse, but he may also like one who’s bathed. Many people wind down by reading before sleeping, even if only a page. If you’re an early riser, read in bed when you wake up or while you drink your morning coffee.

Join (or start!) a book club

Local bookstores, recreation centers and adult education programs often sponsor clubs, or you can start one with your MOPS friends. A good first selection might be the new Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears. Sharing a book with even one friend or family member is a great way to feel close to someone living far away.

Read what your kids read

What better way to motivate your kids to complete their school reading than by showing them you’re willing to read the same book? It’ll also make helping with homework easier. If your kids are interested in a series like The Chronicles of Narnia or Little House on the Prairie, read the books aloud as a family. We know reading to children is important for literacy development, but kids also learn its value by watching their parents enjoy books.

Switch formats and genres

E-readers, tablets, library hardbacks, cheap paperbacks — read whatever works for your life. Don’t be afraid to try different genres either. Memoirs can be a beautiful way to see the world through another’s eyes. Fantasy or historical fiction can transport you to different places and times. Even romance novels can be fun.

Don’t read what you don’t like

If a book sits untouched on your nightstand for more than a month, replace it. If you’ve gotten stuck in the opening, try jumping to the middle. If it still isn’t gripping, move on. The world is full of too many wonderful books to waste time on something you aren’t enjoying.

While it may seem daunting, reading brings such pleasure that making time for it can be worth a try. You’ve read your kids’ favorites 200 times — why not find a new favorite for yourself?


Emily H. Moore reads (a lot!), cooks, crochets, jogs and gardens on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. She’s a proud wife to her best friend, mother of a 20-month-old boy and 10-year-old puppy, teacher of writing and literature for Virginia’s Community College System, and member of the ESVA MOPS, a tiny group with a huge heart.

What book is on the top of your to-read list?