Fellow book lover, bookworm, knowledge connoisseur, or whatever you want to call yourself, it’s time to up your reading game. We are all life-long learners, and one of the best, time-proven ways to gain knowledge is through reading. So let us all read as much as we can today. After all, you only have one life to live, so why not spend it growing and learning?
Of course, the desire to tackle a good book may sometimes be stifled by time constraints. And it’s hard to argue against the intimidation that stack of books next to your bed might be making you feel. But fear not! Because here are five tips to help you reach your reading goals!
Tip #1: Start with what you ENJOY!
There is a reason why you picked up those books at your local bookstore or added them to your online cart. You were interested in the topic or genre, which is why you brought them home in the first place. So sort out your books and rank them in categories like “must-read now” or “for later”. Then pick the one you know you’ll enjoy the most, flip it open to the first page and dig in. When you start reading what you enjoy, you’ll most likely finish the books in your pile in good time.
Tip #2: Read more than one book at a time—sometimes
I know for sure that a lot of readers—and even writers!—would strongly disagree with me. That is why I added that caveat “sometimes”. However, I find that reading two to three books at a time can help with keeping boredom at bay. Sometimes, reading a very long novel can become tedious, and reading a different genre on the side can help increase your chances of finishing more books.
But I don’t always do this strategy. There are books that are so well-written that they beg to be finished in one sitting.
Tip #3: Make yourself a reading nook
Reading is a habit that you can develop. And just like how the bedroom conditions your mind that it’s a place for sleep and rest, a reading nook will also get you to the right mood to read. It doesn’t always have to be a place in your house. A coffee shop or a garden will do the trick. In other words, the habit will make it easier for your mind and body to adjust to your decision to read.
And so, I dare say it: Make yourself a reading nook, and you’re halfway in reaching your reading goals! Here are some suggestions on how to make your reading nook the optimal place for reading:
- Make it a haven. Choose a place where you can stay, be yourself, and be happy. Maybe the kitchen counter over the living room area will work best for you? You decide. You can also pick a corner in your room and prepare that space as your nook.
- Use good lighting. Yup, it’s not only for the good of your eyesight. It’s also key for the overall enjoyment of your reading time. It’s a fact that lighting can affect your mood. There are so many kinds of lighting such as a tripod lamp, floor lamp or a lamp that stretches so you can adjust it to your liking. Choose the best one that will work for your space.
- Make it a comfortable nook. Set a bean bag, a stool, or a cushioned armchair for your spot. If you like standing up, then choose a good corner with a cocktail or tall table where you can place your book on top and read while standing up. Also, make sure your nook is well-ventilated and that the temperature is not too hot nor too cold.
- Remove potential sources of distractions. First of all, keep your phone at a safe distance away from you. Keep board games, smart tablets, laptops, and even photos away from you as you read. Deciding not to let yourself be distracted when you read is a very important decision to make before picking up a book. Identify what distracts you, eliminate or keep them far from your reading nook.
Tip #4: Read with your mind, not with your mouth
In our kindergarten days, we were trained to read out loud the words from our storybooks to practice and develop our reading skills. So, we’ve naturally developed the unconscious habit of subvocalizing—which is okay when you’re just beginning to learn how to read. Subvocalizing is the voice in your head that reads every single word, just like what you may be doing right now. It is the practice of reading tirelessly through each and every word of your book. Actually, you might be one of the readers who mouth every single word you read while you read. That may not be necessarily a bad thing. But, if you aim to finish reading more than 50 books in a year, then you must replace this habit with another that can help you read faster.
So, a tip to read faster and better is to read only with your eyes. Our brains actually fill in the gaps when we read through a sentence without actually reading through every word on the page. Try it: Stop reading with your mouth—that is, intentionally reading each individual word—and practice just reading the “main” words and let your brain do the rest of the work.
Tip #5: Make a plan or set reading goals for yourself
Just like with any endeavor you’re passionate about, you’ll need to make a plan to help yourself reach your bold goals. Like what Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So here are a couple of ways you can apply this tip to read faster:
- Commit to reading a certain number of pages of your book per day. This one depends on the length of your book. If you’re reading something like Anna Karenina, then you’d need to commit to read at least 30 pages a day to finish it in a month or so. Regardless, by setting a daily goal of pages read, you can help yourself up or each of your bold reading goals.
- Decide on the books you’ll read per month—and keep to that schedule! Set your reading plan by allotting five books per month. If you do so, you’ll accomplish reading 60 books a year. Or if you want to challenge yourself more, you can read eight books each month; then, you’ll end up reading 96 books by the end of the year!