Ten ways to strengthen your reading habit

Most people would like to read more. It is a fun and enlightening activity. It can help us to be more informed and successful. However, it is an activity that many people do not get very involved in. According to the 1999 National Home Education Survey, 50% of the US population age 25 and older read a newspaper at least once a week, read one or more magazines regularly, and have read a book in the last 6 months. . What does this mean? It means that 50% of the population has not read a book in the last six months! Looking at the other end of the spectrum, research shows that if you read ten books a year, you are in the top percentage of all people as readers. Simply put, it doesn’t take much to be a good reader, but we do need to know how to get started. Here are ten suggestions to help you strengthen your reading habit: ways to find and make more time to read. 1. Always have a book nearby. Don’t go anywhere without reading material. Keep magazines or stories in your bathroom. Always have something in your summary to read. Keep a book(s) by your bed. Having things available makes it easier to steal moments that would otherwise be lost. 2. Set a reading goal. Determine how much time you want to spend reading or how many books you want to read over time. Your goal may be one book a month, one book a week, or it may be to read 30 minutes a day. Start with something possible but still a stretch. As you develop your habit, you can set higher goals. Setting a goal is the first step to reading more. 3. Keep a record. Keep a list of the books you have read or keep track of how much time you read each day. You can keep these lists in your journal or in your planner. My son’s record is on our refrigerator. My list and record are kept on my computer. It doesn’t matter where you put it, just do it. 4. Keep a list. Make a list of things you want to read in the future. Ask your friends and colleagues what they are reading. Watch for recommendations in the newspaper and magazines. Once you start looking for good books, you’ll find them everywhere. This is a great way to keep up your enthusiasm. By knowing what good things you want to read, you will reinforce your reading habit. 5. Turn off the television. Many people say that they simply do not have enough time. Television is one of our biggest time consumers. Make your way of watching television more conscious and less habitual. There is nothing wrong with watching TV shows that you really enjoy. Where time is wasted is turning it on and scanning for “something to watch”. Those are the times to turn it off and pick up your book! 6. Listen when you can’t read. Use your commute and time in the car to listen! There are excellent audio versions of all kinds of books. Whether you want to “read” fiction, the latest diet or self-help book, it’s probably available on tape. Don’t get locked into the idea that you have to read it: listening to the book still gives you the experience, insights, and imagination that reading a book can. 7. Join a reading group or book club. Reading groups typically meet once a month to discuss a book that everyone has decided to read. Engaging with the group provides a little more impetus to finish the book and gives you a great forum for discussion and socializing around the book’s themes. 8. Visit the library or bookstore often. You have your list, right? That way you’ll have some ideas of what you’re looking for when you go in. But there is more to be gained from walking around the places where the books reside than from simply making a transaction. Take the time to browse! Let your eyes find things of interest. Let the serendipity happen. Browsing will feed your mental need to read and give you lots of new things to read. 9. Build your own strategy. Decide when reading fits into your schedule. Some people read first thing in the morning, others before bed. Some decide to read while they eat lunch. And there’s more to his strategy than just timing. Make your own decisions about reading. It’s okay to read more than one book at a time. It’s okay to stop reading something before you’re done if it doesn’t interest you. It’s okay to flip through the book, get what you want or need, without reading every page. Determine what works best for you, develop your own beliefs and ideas, then make them work for you. 10. Drop everything and read. My son’s fourth grade class has DEAR (drop everything and read) time. When the teacher asks for it, that’s what they do. read now. That is my last advice to you. Have to. just start. Let it be a time DEAR. Now.

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