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Planning Tips | Start a Reading Journal

Start a Reading Journal

If you are an avid reader, or have a goal of reading more, you need a reading journal. Read on for our best ideas on how to start one!
1 September 2022
A reading journal: the book lover’s ultimate companion! Ok, maybe we can think of a few other great ones as well - but it’s definitely up there together with the fluffy blankets and the cute tea mugs. Have you considered starting one? We’ve put together some ideas and tips for you that will help you start your reading journal, including how to make a custom one for yourself with our design tool.

What is a reading journal?

A reading journal is a place to document and keep track of your reading, or anything book related really. It can be set up in a few different ways depending on what your purpose for it is: as a dedicated journal for just your reading, as a smaller part of your regular planner setup or as a couple of pages in your notebook. The important thing to remember is that it should always enrich your reading experience, not be another boring chore on the list!

Why you should start a reading journal

For many, a reading journal is a way to better remember the books they read. Even with our favorite books it’s easy to forget details from the story, the characters and how it all made us feel. By writing it all down you’re creating an archive for yourself to look back on! If your goal is simply to read more overall, a journal for your reading is an excellent way of keeping your motivation up and tracking your progress (read on for our best tips on how to start your reading habit)

Our six best reading journal ideas

1. To Be Read lists

This is a good place to start, a list (or several) of all the books you want to read at some point. Here are a few suggestions of lists you could add to your journal:

The books you already own but haven't read yet
A wish list for the books you want to add to your collection
The books you're waiting for
Recommendations from friends and family
Any list from Goodread's Listopia

Adding lists to your So Typical Me-journal

There are multiple ways to add room for lists in your journal whether you’re incorporating it as a part of your regular planning setup or you’re creating a dedicated reading journal:

Check out our extra page types “To Do”, “Blue To Do” or “Checklist” for lists ready to be filled in, or try the simple dotted or ruled pages if you prefer to keep things flexible.
Will lists be your primary focus? In that case, we’d recommend using the “To Do”-layout for our Notebook that is all about 'em lists!
Try it out

2. Your dream reading spot bucket list

Speaking of lists: we’re loving the idea of a bucket list featuring all the cozy and inspiring places you want to sit down and read at. A lush herb garden for that cottage core dream, on the docks at sunrise, or maybe the actual place that a book takes place at… Time to start planning that trip to the Scottish Highlands? (if you know, you know)

Reading Place Bucket List

3. Reviews and summaries

This could be as simple as just a star rating and nothing more, or an in-depth review where you take the time to sit down with your reading journal and reflect on the book you’ve just finished. If the book is a part of a series, make sure to include a short summary of the plot and how things ended. It makes for an easy way to refresh your memory when the next book eventually comes out!

When creating your reading journal with our design tool

Go for a Notebook with the ruled + modules layout. On the left page, you have room to write down your reflections, and on the right-hand side of the spread, you can add a combination of modules for things like quotes and quick facts.
Add the extra page type "Book Review" (found in the last step when building your design) for a place to do star ratings of your finished books
Create yours
Write down your favorite quotes

4. Fill your reading journal with your favorite quotes

We’ve all been there: coming across a passage of text that just speaks to us; be it inspirational, funny or just simply beautifully written. “I’ll need to remember this!” we think… only to forget about it two page turns later. Keep your reading journal with you while you read and write down your favorite quotes as you go!

5. Reading Habit Tracker

A habit tracker for your reading time is a fantastic addition to your reading journal if your goal is to read more. Starting and keeping any new habit can be difficult, so we’d suggest you start simple and for a set time frame to make the task feel more attainable.

Why not try a 30-day challenge for example, where you commit to doing something every day for 30 days?

30 Day Reading Challenge
Add a few pages of 30 day challenges when designing your reading journal! You'll find them at the last step ("Extra pages") when designing your journal.

Bonus tip: How to use your tracker to start a new reading habit in 30 days

Maybe you’ve heard of "the habit of showing up"? It’s the idea that we first need to establish a habit before we can improve it. If you’re not already reading on the regular, it could be enough to start with the goal of simply picking up a book each day without any requirements of actually reading from it. If you do - great! But the point is: you don’t have to. Why not give it a try?

Check off the boxes as you complete your new habit each day and reward yourself at the end. Once you’ve successfully established your new habit you can move on to improving it from there. Your next step could be 30 minutes of reading per day for 30 days, or maybe one chapter per day? Just remember to keep it fun, don’t go adding habits into your life that won’t make a positive difference!

How to add reading habit trackers to your reading journal with our design tool

Use the weekly / larger module “Habits” for a flexible tracker where you can add up to 6 habits to track over the course of a week
If you’re using one of our planner layouts, add the Day Module “Reading” to make note of how much you read each day
Try out the Extra Pages “30 Day Challenge” or “Habit Tracker 2” for trackers that span 30 days/occurrences.
Get started

6. Reading Prompt Challenges

These are a fun way to kick-start your motivation to read more and help you discover new literary gems that otherwise would’ve missed your radar. Go for a ready-made challenge, or team up with a fellow book nerd and create custom challenges for each other! Mix it up with things you know they'll love and things that will push them out of their reading comfort zone.

So, what are you adding to your reading journal?

Create a dedicated reading journal with our notebook as your base, or combine it with a planner layout to keep things flexible. Explore the possibilities:

With a custom planner or journal, the choice is yours

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