3 Easy Steps to Setting Your 2018 Educational Leadership Reading Challenge on Goodreads

One year. 12 months. 365 days. When you break down one year, it's actually not that long. So what do you want to do differently this year? What do you want to learn to do or improve? 

This post is for you if you're...

  • A graduate student studying educational administration and leadership who may be working on a large research paper or project.
  • An educational researcher who wants to set a yearly reading goal to investigate a new area of interest.
  • A school administrator who wants to improve their leadership skills.
  • A teacher who wants to keep on top of the current literature in the field of educational administration and leadership.
  • Someone with an interest in educational books who wants to be intentional about what they learn this year.

So, you have 365 days. How do you want to spend it?

In this post, I'm going to walk you through how to set up your 2018 reading challenge on Goodreads in 3 easy steps. If you haven't heard of Goodreads, it's a really useful app that you can download on your phone (or access via the web). Not only can you track the books that you have read and want to read, but you can create and join book clubs (called "groups"), read recommendations and reviews, post stories, and connect directly with authors all over the world. It's a great tool, especially if your goal this year is to be more intentional about what you read. 

Here are a few things to consider before we begin to set up your reading challenge in Goodreads:

  • What subjects would you like to read more about? If you're reading this blog post, I assume you have some interest in educational administration and leadership issues, but of course this tutorial will work for anyone who wants to set up a yearly reading challenge. So, what specific things do you want to know more about? 
  • How many books do you want to read? Do you want to try to read 12 books this year? Less? More? Try to choose a realistic number of books - but do push yourself. Remember, it's a challenge and it should be challenging.
  • How will you make time to read this year? We're all busy, right? So how are you going to make time in your busy day to read the number of books you've chosen for yourself this year? Will you get up one hour earlier every morning to read? Will you read for thirty minutes before bed every night? Decide how you'll set aside time in your day to reach your reading goal.

And just in case you don't already have a huge list of books in mind that you want to read this year, here is a quick & easy tip for finding new & interesting books in your niche:  

Tip! Let's say you want to read more books about educational administration and leadership, but when you search "educational administration" in your university library website, the results are overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of possible titles that you could read - how do you know which will be useful? The answer is in the books and academic articles you have already read. Go back and find one on book or academic article that interested you. Flip to the references in the back of the book or paper, and check out the reference list the author has already built for you, and choose a few titles that sound interesting. Your university library is perhaps the best place to find academic books, though for those hard to find books, check in with your local bookstore - they can often contact the publisher to get a copy of the book.

2018 Goodreads Reading Goal.png

So, now you've determined what subject you want to read more about, picked a number of books to read this year, and prioritized reading in your life. Now we're ready to set up your reading challenge in Goodreads! Below, I've created a quick 3 step (2 steps if you already have a Goodreads account!) process of setting up your 2018 educational administration + leadership reading challenge. 

1. Create a Goodreads Account

Navigate to Goodreads.com and select Create a Free Account.

Tip! You can also download the Goodreads app on your iPhone or Android device so you can update your books wherever you are. This is great for when you get a book recommendation or see a book that you want to read - you can easily open the app and add the book to your bookshelf - and voilà! You'll never need to try to remember another book title ever again.

Goodreads App.png

2. Set the Number of Books you Want to Read in 2018

Remember when we brainstormed earlier in this post about the number of books you wanted to try to read this year? Here's where you enter that number into the 2018 Reading Challenge field and click Start Challenge. In the example below, you'll notice I've chosen 12 books to read this year, one per month. This is a realistic goal for me, because it suits my lifestyle as a full-time university employee, grad student, and blogger (well, as much as I can be right now). Make sure to make your goal something attainable, but something that will still challenge you. Believe it or not, it's actually possible to read a book every day - and while your own goals don't need to be this lofty, it all comes down to how much time you are able to carve out of your day to dedicate to reading. 

Goodreads_Reading Challenge.png

3. Update the Progress of Your Book (don't forget to reward yourself)

As you read or complete books, don't forget to update your progress so that your status bar changes to show that you've completed x number of books toward your challenge (pictured below). It's pretty fun to be able to click that you've finished reading a particular book and to see it go towards your goal. And of course, don't forget to reward yourself. I know that reading is kind of its own reward, but it will help keep you motivated toward your goal, and well, it's just fun to do.

Tip! Consider leaving a review of the book you just finished reading on Goodreads and other websites such as Amazon or on your local bookstore's website, to help other people determine if this is a good book for them and why they might want to pick it up (or avoid it altogether if their interests lie elsewhere). 

Goodreads_Reading Challenge2.png

Hey guys - I know that setting a goal for yourself is just half the battle - that hard part is actually going through with your plans. That being said, here are a few quick tips on how you can make time for yourself to read more this year:  

  • Setting goals - hey look! You've already done that! You're already off to a great start.
  • Make the most of your morning or evening commute - bring a book or eReader with you on public transit, or find an audio recording of the book to listen to on your iPod or car's stereo.
  • Plan a project - how will you use the information you've read? Will it inform how you teach or practice educational administration in schools? What are some realistic actions that you can implement, starting today?
  • Reflect on what you've read - keep a book journal or bullet journal and write down your favourite ideas or quotes from the book.
  • Join a book club - there are many book clubs you can join on Goodreads, or you can start your own online or in-person administrator book club (click here to read my guide on how to start your own + get the free tip sheet!)
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!
— Dr. Seuss

Did you enjoy this blog post? Let me know in the comments below if any of the tips above helped you, or if you created your own reading challenge on Goodreads. 

C. Valentine