Readers are becoming a dying breed. Most books get movies and television series after them. Most people would rather just look at the screen instead of picking up a book. However, there are several advantages to reading. The benefits are apparent, so more people are trying to read more. Unfortunately, picking up good habits can be more complicated than anticipated. Here are some advantages and tips for getting into reading.
“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” – Mortimer J. Adler
Why Read? Some Advantages
So why should people care about reading anyway? Some people think reading is a boring way to read stories about glittery vampires and nothing more. Well, that’s not the case. These are just a couple of the benefits you’ll see when you start to read.
1. Expand Your Vocabulary
When you read, you will come across unfamiliar words. After coming across these words and looking them up, these words will become part of your daily lexicon with time. You will start to use these words when talking to friends and colleagues. You will be able to use these words in your professional communications, too. An extensive vocabulary can impress potential clients or employers and take you to the next level in life. Just be careful not to use big words too much, or it can make you appear pretentious.
2. Increase Creativity
The art of writing is called an art for a reason. Writers must make deliberate decisions about how they tell their stories. They choose the narrator, the content of the story, and the order to tell it in. They must also decide how they want to describe characters and what words they want to use. The words on the page can turn into outright music when done well. Readers start to pick up on these all so important nuances as they continue to read. They may even be able to incorporate this new creativity into their writing or in their conversations with other people.
3. Learn About the World
Knowledge is power. Books contain a plethora of knowledge on a wide variety of topics. No matter what your passion is, you can learn more about it. There are books about history, sports, celebrities, economics, film, cartoons, video games, and how to make friends. Reading will help you learn about the world, and you can also develop an appreciation of the topics you read about. You can also learn about history, math, and traditionally dull topics in a more entertaining way. During this process, you will hopefully gain a thirst for knowledge. You can take this thirst for knowledge into the rest of your life with you. When you need to learn things for work or in your personal life, you’ll know to turn to reading for the answers.
4. Stress Relief
Life can be hectic. With school, work, family, friends, and relationships, it can start to feel like a giant weight on your shoulders. This can make it difficult to relax at the end of a hard day. There are many different ways to relax. One of the most common ways to unwind is to sit down with a good book and a cup of tea. Diving into the book will help you escape the pressures you’re under by giving you something else to focus on for a while. The process of reading can also be quiet and relaxing. The only problem you’ll have is putting the book down to get to bed.
5. Increase Cognitive Skills
Our brain requires constant stimulation. When you read, you are stimulating your mind in a variety of different ways. First, you are increasing your concentration skills when you sit down and read since you are concentrating on one thing- the book. Soon, you’ll focus better when talking to people and at work. It can also help increase your analytical thinking skills. While reading, you will be forced to tackle the complex issues in the books you read with the characters. These issues will help you tackle complex issues in your own life when the time comes. Reading helps increase your intelligence in some different ways, making you feel smarter in general. Feeling smart can give you confidence in other areas as well.
There was no television or radio years ago. Instead, people got their entertainment from books. Books tell stories about vampires, wizards, crime, murderers, love, superheroes, animals, and just about anything else you can think of. You will get the opportunity to escape boredom and allow a story to unfold in your own mind. One of the great things about entertainment from books is that you can create your own picture when reading the book instead of being limited to how movie creators decide to portray it.
How to Develop A Reading Habit
Even when you decide to start reading, you might have some trouble getting motivated. Here are some ways to make it easier.
1. Take a Class
It’ll be easier to motivate yourself to start reading when you are forced to. For that reason, it can be beneficial to take a literature class at your local college. Look at the different options to pick a class that will interest you most. You can find classes about modern literature, queer literature, African-American literature, war literature, post-modern literature, poetry, and even classes revolving around graphic novels. You will have reading assignments. You and your classmates will discuss the reading in class to help you appreciate each reading to the fullest potential. To ensure you truly understand the work, you will also have to write papers about the books you read.
2. Join a Book Club
A book club is a great way to start reading without having to pay for a class. Most book clubs are free except for the cost of the books and maybe some snacks. Look for book clubs at work or at your local library. If you can’t find a book club, you should take the initiative to start one yourself. When you go to the book club, you will discuss the chosen book. When you bounce ideas off of each other, you will learn more about the book than if you simply read the book by yourself. However, you need to make a point actually to read the book every week.
3. Read With Your Children
It’s just as important, if not more so, for your children to develop a love of reading too. Take them on your journey with you by reading with them at night. You may think that an adult can’t get stimulation from children’s literature, but there are plenty of books you will enjoy, too. For younger children, start with Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. As they get older, the doors open up even more. You will still get the benefits of reading, and you’re encouraging a good habit in your child as well.
4. Ask Friends For Recommendations
One of the main reasons people don’t read as much as they should is because they don’t have books that they like. That’s because they don’t know any books. Don’t simply walk into a book store and pick the first book that grabs your attention. You should get book recommendations from people who know you. Talk to the people you know who read and ask if they know of any books you might like. Keep a list and start going through the list. As you go through the list, you will learn what books you enjoy. You will soon be able to develop your own lists based on the books you liked.
5. Start a Reading Diary
When you write things down, you take more responsibility for them. Therefore, it can be helpful to keep a log or diary of your reading habits. Every day you read, write how long you read and what you read. If you want to take it even further, you can also write any impressions you have about what you read. Alternatively, you can write down new words you learned while reading.
6. Make Time to Read
If you want to make reading a priority in your life, you need to make time for it. Many people don’t think they have time to read. However, if you set aside just an hour before bed every single day, you are making it a priority. Look for things during your day that you can set to the side for your new reading habit. If you don’t think you have time during the week, try setting time aside every weekend.
7. Read Comics and Magazines
You don’t always have to read classical literature to get the benefits of reading. Sometimes, you want to read something a little lighter. That’s fine! Reading is reading, so read what you want to read. Go ahead and read a sports or beauty magazine. You can also take the time to read a comic book. Other people might consider it trash, but you shouldn’t listen to that. Starting with magazines and comics can help take you to the next level in your reading goals.
8. Try Audiobooks
If you aren’t the type to sit down and read, you can still enjoy literature through your headphones or car speakers. Instead of listening to music, consider putting on an audiobook. There are audiobooks available for just about every book out there. The voices can even help clarify the story for you. Try Audible or Audiobooks.com if you’re interested.
9. Read During Your Commute/Break
Finding time for reading can be difficult. You’ll beread more when you find times to sneak it in. One of the best times to sneak in reading is during your commute to work. This is especially true if you take the train or the bus. You can use the time on your commute to read instead of playing games on your phone. You can also find some time to read when you have a break at work. Bring your book to the office with you and read when you have downtime or when you have a lunch break.
10. Turn off the TV
There are many homes where the television seems to be turned on regularly. For people who live alone, it could be to help deafen the silence. For others, it can be the family watching television. Either way, if you want to read more, turn the tv off. The tv will only distract you. You’ll find yourself watching cartoons with your kids instead of reading. If you don’t necessarily want to take away the television from everyone, just go to another room where the TV won’t distract you. Just make sure you can hear the kids in case they need you.
11. Make it Comfortable
When you sit down to read, make it an enjoyable experience. Get one of your favorite and relaxing drinks. You should also find a comfortable chair or nook to read in. Light some candles to make the room smell pleasant. Get a cozy blanket to curl up with and start reading. When you are comfortable, you will have an easier time getting you to actually get some reading done. Reading should be a pleasurable experience, so make it one.
12. Reward Yourself
Use a reward-based system to help yourself reach your goals. When you accomplish one of your reading goals, such as finishing a book, you deserve a treat. You can treat yourself with something as simple as ice cream or a glass of wine. However, it’s crucial not to enjoy the reward until you’ve realized your goal.
13. Realize You Can Give Up
Some people feel the need to complete a book once they start it. However, that book might not be entertaining or engaging to you. If you force yourself to read it even though you’re miserable, it’s only going to ruin the experience of reading for you. If you don’t like a book, it’s okay to put it down and pick up another one. There is no law that you have to enjoy or even finish every book you pick up. Also, not finishing a book doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It just wasn’t the book for you.
14. Make realistic goals
You should establish reading goals to keep you on track. It’s a good idea to try to read every day or a certain amount of pages per week. You don’t always need to meet the goals. However, to help you reach your reading goals, you should make realistic goals. Do not push yourself to the point where you will feel like a failure or give up. You also don’t want to push yourself to the point where reading becomes a chore. An excellent way to gauge your goals is to read on your own for a week and use the results to create future goals. Do not feel the need to share your goals with everyone else. Keep your goals to yourself.
15. Work on retention
Some people have trouble retaining what they have just read. It seems to leave the brain the second they put the book down. Keep yourself into the book by taking notes while you read. They don’t have to be detailed notes necessarily or in a journal format- simple things to remember. You can also try to read out loud or mouth what you read to keep your mind into the reading process.
The benefits of reading are undeniable, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. The more you read, the better you’ll get at it and the more you’ll enjoy it. Don’t worry if you’re slow at first. Simply pick up a book and get to it. I can guarantee you wont regret it.