I am not a great list maker.
In fact, when I sit down and make a list of all the important things I need to accomplish, I often misplace the list almost immediately. I start a new list and the first thing on that list is usually something about finding the old list. So I cannot be classified as an efficient list maker.
But I do keep a list of what I've read. Not only the name of the book, but also who wrote the book and when I finished reading it. Wierd, huh? I started doing this right after I graduated from college. The last year or two I haven't been as devoted to my list of books, and I usually end up playing catch up after a few months roll by and I have to remember what I read. But I still keep a list. And I've never lost this list.
Why do I do this? I'm not sure. It seemed important when I first started reading like my life depended on it. Honestly, the list is not even that useful. Nobody has ever asked me for a list of what books I read in, say, October of 1989, or what my literary pursuits were in the last quarter of 1992. Of course, I can look it up and tell them if somebody did ask. But nobody ever has.
I have taught my kids to keep lists of the books they've read each year and the date they finished. They're pretty good at it. They like to keep count. It's fun to look back and remember your favorite books of the year. I like to brag about their lists to anyone who'll listen. I think this makes them proud of their accomplishment. If you've got young readers, get one of those little spiral binders and have them start writing down what they've read and when they finished. You'll be able to look back and count how many books they read over the summer, and how many they knocked off over the entire year. Maybe one day they'll look back and show their kids what they were reading when they were trying to fill up the long days of summer. My older daughter now uses her list to create her "Top Ten" list for each year.
I bet any kid would work a little bit harder if they know there was a list—I mean who, after all, wants to brag to Grandma that "I read almost one and a half books this summer!" Nope. They'll remember that list. And I bet they go for double digits. And that's something that everybody likes to hear about.
And I bet they never lose that list either.