In the age of technology where the internet seems to be at the top of everyone’s mind, keeping up with your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can seem like a fair use of your free time. Unfortunately, this also means that reading habits tend to go by the wayside as people are less and less able to simply sit still and read a book.
In a 2013 article, Forbes noted that one of the 9 habits of productive people was in fact to spend some time in the mornings reading as opposed to checking e-mails or looking at social media sites. And whether you’re reading the newspaper, a magazine, or a good book, the act of doing so has healthy benefits not only for your mind but for your emotional well-being.
Perhaps some time has passed since you actually sat down and read something cover to cover. Maybe you feel you’ve gotten out of the habit of reading or lost the ability to do so for long periods of time. Like with anything, being a good reader takes practice – and daily practice at that. So to get you started on your path to becoming a better reader, check out these three tips:
1. Pick what YOU like to read.
All readers have their guilty pleasures, and you should never be ashamed of the types of books you enjoy reading. Sure, you may think it’s embarrassing to get caught with the latest teen romance in your hands, but at the end of the day what matters is that you like it. Ignore what other people consider to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ literature and read away. There’s a reason why William Faulkner said: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad,” (it’s because he knew what he was talking about, people!)
2. Read aloud.
A great way to become a better reader is to work on your comprehension skills. And, according to experts, one of the best methods to achieving this is to read aloud. When you’re reading out loud your complete attention is focused on the task at hand as you sound out the words in front of you. There’s no room for distractions such as having the TV on or playing music. You’re also strengthening the connection between your mind and your voice, resulting in greater cohesiveness. Therefore, it’s easier to visualize what you’re reading – meaning your imagination can truly soar!
3. Carry your book with you everywhere.
Most of us tend to whip out our phones when we’re waiting for the bus or in line at the bank, which is why you should carry that book with you everywhere. Slowly train your mind to want to read by easing into it bit by bit. You can’t expect yourself to be able to read through an hour-long commute if you’re mind isn’t ready. Go half and half; allow yourself to play on your phone only after you’ve read two chapters of your book. More likely than not, you’ll get so interested in the characters of the work that you won’t even remember to pull out your phone again.
Of course, you know what they say, right? The first step to becoming a great reader is to pick up a book. So go forth, find something you love to read, and spend time reading it aloud and training your brain to love it. Before long, you’ll find out you’re the ninja reader you were always meant to be. Happy reading!