Tips for Balancing Reading for School and Reading for Fun

You know what the end of summer means: it’s back-to-school time! As a member of the book nerd community, you may be wondering how to bring one of your favorite summer activities (reading for fun) into the school year and still manage to stay on top of your homework and school reading. Not to worry, we’ve got some tips to help you ace that test and take a deep dive into that fantasy world you’ve been dying to escape to!

Looking for a list of books to add to your TBR list this school year? Check out the official book nerd back to school reading list!

Set a timer

Maybe you love to get lost in a book for hours upon hours . . . and that’s great, unless you also have piles of homework to do! One way to make sure you get your schoolwork done and have time for fun reading is to set a time limit. Perhaps you allow yourself thirty minutes to get completely lost in your favorite book after school. Then put down the book (as hard as that may be!), and turn to homework. Set a timer, and voila! You’ve got the best of both worlds. Or finish your homework first, and lose yourself in your book without any guilt!

Cultivate an extensive TBR list

If you simply don’t have time to read for fun amid all your schoolwork and extracurricular clubs and teams, lean into the TBR (“to be read”) list. Cultivating that list or pile can be a fun activity in its own right, and keeping it up to date ensures that you always have a non-school book ready to go when you do find yourself with some extra reading time on your hands.

Use a planner or calendar

You schedule sport practices, group project meetings, college application deadlines, and school dances; why not also schedule some fun reading time? Try to figure out when your study load might be lighter—winter break, for example—and tee up those non-school books to read. You’ll return to school feeling refreshed from both the time off and the fun reading you’ve done!

Craft an independent study

Does your school allow students to craft their own independent study programs? Or perhaps your English teacher will allow you to take on some extra credit! Either way, there could be a means to work your extracurricular reading into your schoolwork, which is a win-win.

Set goals

There are many proven reasons why we should all be setting goals! Goals help us to focus, to take responsibility for our achievements, and help us manage our time. They also help us focus on the journey rather than obsess over destination. These things become even more important during back to school season! Plus, if you find yourself wanting the pleasure of a non-school read, why not set some goals? Start small: decide to read three non-school books this year, and make sure you pick ones you’re really excited about so you’ll definitely make the effort whenever you find yourself with free time.


Find inspiration for your back-to-school reading!

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