5 Tips To Get Yourself Back Into ReadingJun 25, 2023
The school holidays are finally here! Time to recharge, relax and sail away to another world.
The good news is that the sailing part is possible even if you haven’t spent the last four years saving up to travel (bonjour from France BTW).
Both fiction and non-fiction books can carry you to another world from the comfort of your own home. No passports, no airports and definitely no jet lag.
Now if you’ve fallen out of love with reading, never taken to it or have had it drop off your hobbies list due to time and other commitments, this holidays is your reset button.
It’s your chance to reconnect with that inner bookworm- the one that travels all over the world (and beyond). The one who solves crimes before bed, predicts plot twists and learns new and interesting facts. It’s a chance to awaken your inner reader.
In this post I’m going to share 5 tips you can use to help you become a reader again- even if it’s just for the holidays!
Tip #1: Choose the right book
Finding the right book to read can significantly enhance your success in getting back in to a reading habit. Now is not the time to choose a deep, complex or intelligent person’s book just because you feel you should read it.
When you’re kick starting a reading habit you need to put all ‘shoulds’ to the side.
Give yourself permission to walk past the intellectual books (I’m looking at you Sapiens) and head straight to the trashy romance section if that’s what’s going to get you started. At this point, reading is reading -irrespective of the content.
Fun fact: romance is one of the largest growing genres in bookshops right now. It’s not uncommon to find entire sections of bookshops designated specifically to this. Don’t discount it- the world of romance has come a long way from my Mum’s favourite Mills and Boon. There’s now all levels of ‘spice’ available and all manner of romantic situations you can read about.
How to choose the right book:
Consider your mood
Choosing the right book requires consideration of your mood. Do you want something light-hearted, something entertaining, something, informative?
Websites such as goodreads can help you find a book you might be interested in and bookshops such as Readings also post regular reviews of new books. Another option is to listen to various book-talking podcasts to get ideas. Even though I don’t read many adult books (I’m just not mature enough for them) I love listening to Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales discuss books on the Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast.
Hot tip: My go-to-girl for romance recommendations is Stef from NovelTeaCorner.
Speak to people who work at your local bookshop / library
The people working in good bookshops and libraries are walking catalogues. They excel in matching people to books. Go in, tell them what you’re interested in and they will provide you with an array of options in the blink of an eye.
Many library services also offer a free book procurement service where you provide a list of interests and they will create a suggested reading list for you. They will even run around and gather the pile of books for you to borrow (a bit like direct to boot shopping at the supermarket!) This is a service that was started in lockdown that has continued ever since- what a silver lining!
Read the first few pages
Of course, I always recommend reading the first couple of pages of the book to see if the style and content gel with you. I recently purchased a book called Tuesday Evenings with The Copeton Craft Resistance purely because the title intrigued me and I loved the author’s voice on the first 2 pages.
Tip #2: Turn your phone off
Ok, I get it- no one wants to hear this tip. But you have to believe me when I tell you IT WORKS!
I too used to believe that I ‘didn’t have time to read’. That was until I downloaded a screen tracking app on my phone and realised that I DID have time, I was just wasting it scrolling news and social media.
You’ll be surprised how many extra hours you’ll gain every day when you put your phone down. (Scary fact: In 2021, Reviews.org did a survey that found the average time Aussies spend on their phones each day is as high as 5.5 hours!) Side note: if you want to read more about phone addiction, I recommend Johann Hari’s book ‘Stolen Focus’.
To get this tip working for you, you don’t have to turn your phone off all day- just set a time to turn it off at night. E.g. Trial turning it off at 8:30pm so you can have the rest of the night to yourself.
Tip #3: Listen to audiobooks
Some people don’t consider listening to books to be ‘real’ reading. It is. Your brain still works hard to make sense of what you’re hearing, you still predict, make connections, infer, laugh and wonder. You are still getting the wonderful experience of being carried away into the land of the book.
Listening to audiobooks is a fabulous way of getting back into reading if you’re on the move a lot. I listen to audio books on my daily drive to different schools and can often be found sitting in my car waiting for the chapter to end.
The trick with audiobooks is to find one that’s narrated by a voice that draws you in. Not all voices are easy to listen to so be sure to listen to the sample audio before you download the book.
Did you know: Most libraries have a free audiobook service – such as Borrowbox- for their customers to access books.
Tip #4: Start small
Success breeds success. When you feel as though you’re making progress, you’ll be more motivated to keep making more of it. This is true for many things in life and finishing books is no different.
To help get some quick wins on the board in terms of getting back into reading, I suggest selecting shorter books initially. Kids books are great for this, and they have the obvious added benefit of helping you find useful class novels.
Earlier this year, after reading the last book in one of Sarah J Maas’s series, I fell into book depression and couldn’t face reading a book that didn’t involve the characters from her stories. To help get me out of this rut I turned my attention to reading small poetry books and short kids novels. Realising that I was making progress and finishing books again was enough to get me through my book depression and get me back reading again.
One strategy that can help with monitoring your success is to track your book progress by keeping a log (in the same way we often ask students to do). Some people use the notes app on their phones, some like to write their list on paper and other -like me- use apps such as Goodreads to track their reading and set goals for the number of books they want to read.
Start small, blow out the reading cobwebs and get some quick wins on your board. Make success achievable so you’ll stick around for the long haul.
Tip #5: Create a habit
In his hugely popular book, Atomic Habits, author James Clear recommended ‘habit stacking’ as a way of making a new habit stick.
He suggests attaching the habit you want to adopt (e.g. reading) to a habit that already exists for you (e.g. going to bed).
I have followed his advice and habit stacked reading with going to bed. I now try and read a minimum of 2 pages from my current book every night before going to sleep. I love reading before bed because it allows me to stop my brain thinking about work and all the worries of my day and focus on the content of the book instead. When I’m particularly stressed, I find turning my brain to fantasy reading each night is a great way of shutting off and falling into a more pleasant world.
You don’t have to read before bed though, you might add your new reading habit to your breakfast routine, where you swap out social media scrolling for book reading instead.
Whatever you decide to do, set yourself a goal for how often and how much reading you’d like to achieve and stick to it.
Hot tip: This strategy is useful for getting through larger texts as well. When I was reading Sally Shaywitz’ book Overcoming Dyslexia, for example, I set myself the goal of reading one chapter each couple of days to help me plough through the 596 page tomb.
There you have it, 5 tips to help you get back into reading.
Start small, be kind to yourself and read things that you want to read rather than those you should read. You’ll soon start experiencing all the wonderful benefits that come from reading and being a reader. Plus, you’ll finally be able to join in those book conversations that everyone else is having in your workplace and social settings 😊
Related Blog Posts:
- How To Improve Your Writing In 2 Minutes A Day
- 4 Actions To Support Your Wellbeing As A Leader Or Teacher
- 7 Reasons Every Teacher Should Read Aloud Every Day
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