I recognize that in just two words in the title of this article I may have already lost you. (The word “A” probably had small impact). “Reading” is already spooking some of you. “Plan” may be the final death blow.
I don’t feel particularly qualified to write this article. At best, I am a learner in developing and practicing a Reading Plan. But, the concept has been empowering to me. Many of you are trying to develop a Weekly plan, or an Exercise plan, or a Financial plan. Plans help keep us on target. They help get us back on track when we feel completely out of control. If you want to be a reader, a Reading Plan will help!
What is a Reading Plan?
It is just what it sounds like. Rather than flitting from random book to random book, you have a system - usually a list – to determine what you should read next. The plan could be specific titles (all of CS Lewis’ works) or a broader topic/genre (Civil War history, 25 Christian Classic books). A reading plan keeps you from stagnating, because you don’t know what to read next, or how to get started! It also keeps you from only reading the book that is right in front of you, which might be only because someone else read it.
You can certainly be reading other books. You could make every other book a just for fun book, and the other book part of your plan. Over the years, my reading plans have included: books on Abraham Lincoln, World War 2, English Puritan Classics, CS Lewis writings, Civil War Battles, Louis L’Amour Westerns, Early Church Writings, Biographies by Arnold Dallimore, Great Books on preaching, etc. But, I sprinkled in other books I had on my desired reading list, or just books that seemed to be fun reads. The Reading Plan is the foundation for your reading, but there is always space for the latest book that “everybody is reading!”.
Benefits of a Reading Plan
Keeps you in a lifelong learner mindset. Everyone should strive to be a lifelong learner. It keeps you young. It keeps you growing. You give yourself a “curriculum” to grow thru.
Keeps you disciplined in your reading. Reading should be fun and an relaxing. But, if you are working off a Plan you will tend to read more consistently. It also gives you a sense that you are going somewhere in your reading, not just replacing TV as a form of entertainment.
Helps you develop mastery on a subject. A Reading Plan helps you read deeply into a single subject. Reading deeply into the Christian Classics will affirm to you what priorities of Christian life and practice have always been. Reading deeply into your professional field or your hobbies, gives a sense of confidence and broadened perspective on the things you already enjoy. Focusing on a branch of history, or science, or biographies helps you feel accomplishment and expertise. Your reading will feel like it meant something and you grew as a person.
So where do You Start?
There are lots of ready made Reading Plans. A quick Google search will bring them up… “25 Christian Classics” “The best Christian Biographies” “The Best Adventure Books”, “CS Lewis Writings”, etc., etc. Consider what you would like to learn more about! Develop a list of books to read on the subject. Be careful though. Before you know it YOU will be on a Reading Plan!
by Mark E. Willey