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I am a reader. I am a writer. I’m also a teacher of reading. I love all things books, reading, teaching, and writing.
Something I always wanted my student to do was read more books. I finally had to come up with a list of ways to show them how to read more books.
This is a constant question for me, too. I have to remind myself how to read more books.
If I don’t remind myself, the questions in my mind are: How can I get more books off of my To Be Read (TBR) list? What is the best way to read more books?
According to my parents, I was reading before I started Kindergarten. My favorite book, for as long as I can remember, was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. To be honest, it’s still one of my favorite titles.
One day, I promise to make a list of my favorite books. I will have to do several categories (i.e. memoirs, novels, nonfiction, children, series, and books that became movies). If I don’t break it up, the list could go on forever!
At the end of 2021, I finished reading Where the Crawdads Sing. I’m excited to see how they do the movie for it.
Most of the time, I will argue that the book is better than the movie. I can’t remember the last time I disagreed with that theory.
I always have a list of books I want to read, and that is one of the tips I want to share.
BENEFITS OF READING
There are so many benefits to reading. Reading daily is an even better way to reap those benefits.
Here are just a few of those benefits:
- Reading exercises the brain and makes it work in creative ways.
- Reading is free entertainment, especially if you borrow the books from a library.
- Reading improves your ability to focus and concentrate.
- Reading helps to improve sleep.
- Reading reduces stress.
NEVER BE WITHOUT A BOOK
If you have a bag or backpack with you, keep a book in it to read. Find a way to carry a book no matter where you are going.
Then, when you have a few minutes of downtime, read. If you are in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or waiting for a meeting, read.
Riding down the road while someone else is driving, read. Riding the bus or subway, read.
Always take a book everywhere you go. That way when you have time to read, you don’t have to search for a book. It’s there with you.
CREATE A REGULAR HABIT
Set a specific time to read every day. Is it going to be when you first wake up in the mornings? Will it be during your lunch break? Or, will you read instead of scrolling through social media on your phone before bed at night?
Set a timer. This way, you know how long you will be reading. Consume as many pages as possible during that time. If the timer goes off mid-sentence or mid-paragraph, finish that section and close the book.
As time goes on, you will begin to read more quickly. You will also start to comprehend more of what you are reading.
In the beginning of setting the timer, you may only read 5-6 pages. It won’t be long, though, until you are reading 10+ pages at a time.
It also won’t be long until you are setting the timer for longer because you want to read more every day.
Having a specific time to read and an allotted amount of time to read will help you be able to read more books.
HAVE A READING LIST
I’ve already said that I have a list of books I want to read. As you already know, I keep lists for everything.
Some of these books are saved to my TBR on Goodreads. However, some of them are written on paper lists. Other books are just in my head, and I’m sure I will forget about them until I write them down or save them to a list.
Keep a running list of books you want to read. Mark off books you have completed.
Before you finish the book you are currently reading, get the next book on the list. That way you know what you will be reading before you finish the current book.
When you find an author you like, add more of those books to the list.
When you find a genre you like, find more books to match it and write them on the list, as well.
The list can be as long or as short as you need/want it to be. It can be analog or digital, or both.
You can share the list or keep it for yourself.
Ask friends and family for suggestions to add to your reading list.
Just make a list of books you want to read and keep it with you.
LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS
I have friends and family who love to listen to books on Audible. I am not one of those people. I do not care for listening to books being read to me. I never liked it as a child either. I wanted to be the person reading.
The only way I can do this is if I am following along with the written book. I can read the words as the computer/phone is reading to me, and I can comprehend.
I have (and sometimes still do) use Audible for that. I used it in my classroom as a teacher so that I could let students hear books as they followed along.
I also suggest using Audible for students who are struggling in reading. It helps them to see and hear words, if they follow along with the physical book. It can help to improve their comprehension.
I cannot listen to books while I am working in the house or driving down the road. I zone out and miss entire sections of the book. Then I have to figure out where I stopped paying attention.
Some of my friends listen to several books a year on their commute to and from work. They can listen to a few books a month because they have long commutes.
Other friends listen while they travel with their families on vacations and road trips. You really can listen to audiobooks almost any time and any place.
Like I said, this is not my preferred way to read books, but this is a great way to be able to read more books.
You can download Audible. That will allow you to listen to books even when you can’t have a physical book with you. You can play it in your headphones while you are waiting in an office or stuck in traffic.
You can have the app on your phone or tablet. You may even be able to use it on your computer.
Right now, if you use this link to Audible, you can try Audible Plus and get up to 2 free audiobooks.
JOIN A BOOK CLUB
Book clubs are a great way to have some external motivation for reading. You will know from meeting to meeting what you are supposed to read.
If you meet monthly, you may have to read an entire book each month. Or, it could be just a section or selection of chapters.
Either way, you will know what you need to read before showing up for the meeting.
Sometimes, this is a great motivator for reading more books.
Today, there are even online options for book clubs.
Book clubs will help you to meet more people who are reading as well. These people will be able to give you recommendations for more books to read (or at least add to your TBR).
If you cannot find a book club that is reading a book you want to read, start one. You probably have a few friends who would like to get together once a month to hang out and discuss a good book.
It can be at your home or at a local coffee shop. Just get 2-3 people together and discuss the book.
I promise; book clubs are fun. Don’t make this something stressful.
CREATE A READER-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT
A reader-friendly environment has less noise and fewer distractions than other areas.
By removing distractions, you will be able to focus more on reading.
One suggestion, and it is going to be hard to do, is to put your phone/tablet/computer in a different room. We all keep our phones with us all the time. When the notifications come in, most of us check them immediately.
If the phone rings, we answer it. We check emails, even when we know it can wait.
If you put your electronics in a separate room, you can almost guarantee that you will not hear the notifications or rings. This will allow you to focus and concentrate on the task at hand–reading.
Reading does so many great things for us. I hope that these tips for how to read more books helped you to think of ways to improve your reading.
There are a lot of other ways that you can read more books, but these are some of the easiest ones to begin your journey.
What other suggestions do you have for reading more?
What books are on your TBR right now?
Respond in the comments and keep the conversation going.