I’m a nerd and proud of it.

Yep, you’ll find me in my local library at least once a week. And why not? I can (and do) check out dozens of books over the course of a year. And with all of the technology programs they have available today, you have access to magazines and databases and even documentaries and movies, all for the very low price of “free”.

This past week, my local branch started a new program, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. The goal is to turn local children into voracious readers before they ever enter a classroom. It’s a great program we should initiate across the US – how would that change the face of our classrooms?

I would argue reading is the most important skill we can have. Way beyond the STEM courses they push on kids today from very early ages, reading changes everything. Readers can teach themselves anything, including science and technology and engineering and mathematics.

The phrase “the Three Rs” originated over two centuries ago when creating the foundations of basic skills-oriented education: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Though one could laugh that if you had those skills, you would know that only one of the three begins with the letter R. still, they were on to something.

Reading is such a fundamental skill that many of us don’t think much about it. Readers succeed well beyond their non-reader counterparts. 88 percent of college graduates read books every year compared with only 64 percent with a high school degree. And 83 percent of people making more than $75,000 per year read compared with 68 percent of people that make under $30,000.

The Best Places To Find Things To Read

Goodreads

Get active on Goodreads. You can link up with your friends and find out what they’re reading. Or follow your favorite authors to find out their favorites (and their newest releases.) You can join different groups to learn about new books. And write up a review or two to let your followers know what you think about every book you read.

Bookbub

Let’s face it; we very rarely have time to search out great books on a daily basis. That’s why BookBub makes it easy. They’ll send you an email every day with a selection of releases that match your interests. It takes a few seconds to see if anything captures your attention, click, and start reading.

Oprah

Oprah made reading cool again. If you’re an author, Oprah’s blessing could change everything. If you want to find the best books, follow Oprah’s selections. You’ll find some of the best reads of the year.

A Good Romance

Sometimes you just gotta have a little romance, right? If that’s the case, visit The Ripped Romance either online, or the next time you’re in LA. Follow their Twitter feed for insight on what to bring to bed with you.

The Greatest Books

I love being able to go back in time and get input on what to read from authors from our past. The Greatest Books site allows you to search in a variety of ways, including from years past. I’m always amazed at how some books remain relevant no matter what the year. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood come to mind.

TED

I also like to follow forward thinking groups, websites, and educators to learn what they’re thinking about now. While I love watching TED videos and educating myself from some of the most knowledgeable people in the world, I also take their recommendations seriously. The TED book list provides an excellent overview in a variety of different fields and genres. Read one book a week, and this list will keep you busy for more than a year.

What’s your favorite book list?

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