Creating a Family Reading Challenge with Goodreads

Reading every day is something we love to do at our house. It is a practice. Something we typically do for 15-30 minutes every day. It is some of our most precious family time (check out my blog featuring those moments).

We can see the some of the results by the well-loved books that fill our shelves (and robust libraries on Kindle and Audible for me). And, we can certainly see the impact as the boys read with more enthusiasm. But, I am always looking for ways to be more intentional about our reading and ways to celebrate success. This quest has taken different forms over the years — from lists on a clipboard to lists on big paper tacked on the wall. We’ve always been interested in tracking both the number of books and number of pages that we’ve read in a given time period.

At the end of 2015, we set reading goals for 2016. We decided that we would count reading beloved picture books in our library. So, we set the goal high — 100 books each. I told the boys about the Goodreads app, which I had been using sporadically. And, we decided to try it out as a way to track our 2016 challenge.

Here’s why we’ve loved bringing technology into our challenge:

  • It’s fun. One of the fun surprises of using Goodreads is that the boys LOVE to use the barcode scanner in the app to find the books they’re reading.
  • It gives a sense of accomplishment. We love updating progress on a daily basis and, finally, hitting that “I’ve finished this book!” button. So fun to check it off our digital list.
  • It keeps a running tally of our progress. We can easily track the number of books read in the app. But when you go into the desktop version, you can also view the number of pages read, which is fun. And, especially interesting when we’re mixing long and short books.
  • It helps us be more intentional about our goals. We regularly talk about how we’re doing toward our goal. And, it has inspired evenings of reading our favorite Children’s books to re-read them together.
  • It showcases our eclectic taste. So much fun to see an Elephant and Piggy selection right next to Amy Cuddy’s Presence.
  • It makes accountability easy. Our middle-schooler, Davis, comes home after school. Reading for 20 minutes is his first priority every day. We’ve started to ask him to update his progress on the book to record his reading time.
  • It connects grandma to our reading. We’re all connected to my Mom, so she can see what we’re reading and comment on progress.

We’ve had a great time with the first two months of our Family Goodreads Challenge. We’re all on-track to hit our 100-book goal for the year.

Here’s how you can start your own Family GoodReads Challenge:

  • Make sure each member of your family has an email account. My boys each have Gmail accounts.
  • Create an account for each family member at
  • Download the Goodreads app. (iTunes | GooglePlay) It works really well if you can each have an app on a separate device so that you don’t have to log in and out.
  • Set your goals.
  • Log your progress.

Here’s a glimpse of our progress in our family challenge:

Davis – he’s completed 19 books since January 1.

Mr. D's progress in our Family #goodreadschallenge #thejensenboys

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Reid – he’s completed 18 books since January 1.

Mr. R's progress in our Family #goodreadschallenge #thejensenboys

A photo posted by Kirsten (@kirstensdigitallife) on


Kirsten – I’ve completed 21 books since January 1.

My progress in our family #goodreadschallenge

A photo posted by Kirsten (@kirstensdigitallife) on

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