You may have read or heard about the father who promised his 9-year-old daughter to read 100 consecutive nights. After celebrating their 100th evening, the reading team decided to keep going, naming their ritual The Streak, and stopping only when the daughter reached college, a grand total of 3,218 nights of shared reading.
Isn’t that remarkable?
When I think how difficult it is for me to add or subtract a habit to my daily routine – 364 days since my last diet soda, huzzah! – then completing an 8 1/2 year reading streak seems monumental.
Which, when we bore down on imagining their feat, is the power of routines; they free us from decision-making, both good and bad, so we coast on autopilot.
. . . on average. . . it [takes] 66 days until a habit [is] formed. - Jeremy Dean, Making Habits, Breaking Habits
Perhaps a less celebrated reason for the father daughter success was that the father – a now retired librarian – had a book ready when one book ended or was abandoned. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts he had a hefty To-Be-Read stack.
Which, it turns out, is a key for all successful readers.
Donalyn Miller, a teacher and promoter of “wild reading”, says avid readers have reading plans, basically a TBR pile, whether the anticipated book is next in a favorite series or a must-read pressed on him from a reading friend.
Working to encourage my students to read both in and outside school, I notice that many disengaged readers haven’t picked up this lifelong reading habit – planning for future reading. – Donalyn Miller, Reading in the Wild
So the next time I complain about my huge TBR pile someone needs to smack me. Because anticipating a good read is as important as creating a routine for reading.