10 Tips To Start a Reading Habit

By Mackenzie Pittman

Reading. It’s something we all know we should do, daily. Yet, the majority of us probably haven’t picked up a book in months. Studies have shown that reading is a key part of developing aspects of your brain such as memory improvement, mental stimulation, vocabulary expansion, stronger analytical thinking skills, and the list goes on. If reading has so many amazing benefits…why don’t people do it more often? Many people don’t read regularly, or have given up on reading as a whole, because reading isn’t a habit for them and they find the task strenuous and unenjoyable. Well, I have a solution for your reading slump! Here are 10 tips to get you up and reading in no time.

  1. In order to start a reading habit it is essential that you read DAILY. Yes, daily. That means setting aside a period of time, preferably the same time, everyday and reading during your allotted time. Whether you are reading for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, every minute counts and will help you develop a reading routine.
  2. The big question is…what should you read? Anything that piques your interest. There are numerous genres out there and I assure you, you can find one you like. However, if can’t find a book on your own, ask someone for a recommendation! If someone you get along well with recommends you a book they enjoyed, it’s likely that you will also like that book.
  3. Nonetheless, if you come across a book, start reading it, and discover you absolutely despise it, do not force yourself to finish the book. It is okay to leave books unfinished. Take a break, pick up a different book, and start again. Don’t let one bad book ruin your experience.
  4. In addition to reading different books and finding multiple books you enjoy, you need to explore more than one genre! Yes, many of you will only read novels confined to your “favorite genre,” but how do you know you don’t like other genres if you don’t read from them?
  5. Concerned about where you can find all these books? The Library! Go to your library, get a library card if you do not already have one, and use it. There are also hundreds of bookstores out there and you can order books online. And, if you don’t want to buy books at their full price (because let’s be real, books are expensive, especially hardbacks) there are second-hand bookstores as well, such as Half Priced Books.
  6. So you found a book you like, now it’s time to actually read. In order to stay focused you must read in an environment that is calm, quiet, peaceful, and has no distractions. If every time you go to read and your phone is buzzing, or the TV is on in the background, you aren’t concentrated on your task. And you will not get the results, benefits, and enjoyment you are looking for. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, clear your mind, and get reading.
  7. Now, I’m not saying reading can’t be fun and comfortable. Find a comfy seat, whether it’s a chair, a bed, the floor, really wherever you are comfortable (I prefer a giant purple armchair in my living room). Settle down with your book, maybe a cup of coffee or tea, a blanket, whatever will make your reading time the most enjoyable.
  8. But…what should you do once you have few books under your belt? Discuss them! Whether with a book club, your English teacher, friends, family members, whoever will listen. A key part of reading is being able to understand the information you are taking in, and discussions are a great way to do that.
  9. It’s easy to forget to read, and become distracted by other life stressors, but a good way to combat this is by setting a goal for yourself. For example, at the start of 2018 I said I wanted to read 30 books by the end of the year (I’m at 24 right now). No matter what your goal is, it’s crucial that your goal is attainable and practical. You want to feel triumphant when you complete your goal not disappointed that you missed the mark.
  10. Now, it seems like a lot to keep track of, but there is a simple solution: make a Goodreads account. Goodreads is a website with infinite possibilities; you can discover new novels and create a list of novels you “want to read,” you can keep track of the novels you have read, you can befriend other readers, join virtual book clubs, and there’s even a feature that lets you set a “reading challenge” goal! It’s the perfect way to stay up to date with your reading, and makes forming a reading habit that much easier.
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