Guess what. It’s national book lover’s day! I’m super excited as you may or may not know. I love books. I love reading and it makes my heart swell when I see others cultivate a love of reading. Now trust me, I get it. Not everyone likes to read but one can cultivate a liking or loving it (hopefully?).
It does take handwork and dedication to do it even though one may find it super enjoyable. My love for reading came when I was just a little girl. I loved watching Richard Scary videos and every tape that had to do with reading (I taught myself to read this way). I’ve read so many books and when I got to middle school, I started reading chapter books like The Babysitter’s Club. It wasn’t until my freshman year in high school when I started diving into novels! Oh boy did I have a great time with novels!
I had a great stride going until….I hit college. Out went reading for fun and in came reading for class. Reading became dull and mind numbing. I would read books that I enjoyed here and there but my reading habits were nothing like how they were in high school, when I was growing up. When I started buying books for my future classroom, I slowly started reading books for fun again. Even though I joined Goodreads (a site that works like facebook but for actual books) and even signed up for reading challenges, I wasn’t completing them.
I take that back. The first year I bombed my reading challenge. Last year I passed it but I challenged myself to read 14 books (which may seem like a lot but its not. Its just over a book a month). This year I originally challenged myself to read 15 books but by June, I passed that goal so now I changed it to reading 25 by the end of the year (again, to some this is a lot. I’ve seen teachers read 10 books in a month). What changed? My mindset. I told myself that I can do it and I made reading a priority. Now I will be totally transparent here: In June, after I did the OWLS Magical Readathon (you can read all about that here), I was totally burned out. I had to stop reading for a while to get my mind right. Now, I don’t rush it. I just take my time. If that means I read two books a month, then that’s fine! I don’t sweat it. Hell, I made my first goal for the year, so whatever I read for the rest of the year is just whatever to me!
So, what are some ways to improve your reading?
- Read what you like. Read what you enjoy. If you hate historical fiction, but you love sports, read books with a sports theme. It’s totally up to you. Don’t bother reading things you hate.
- Start small. Don’t go in trying to read 100 pages a day or an entire book in a night. If you can only afford 10-15 min. a day for reading, then thats all you can do. Eventually, you might be able to read for longer stretches. It all depends on your goals and scheduling. You can even track your reading to see how you progress and what times work best for you and when you find reading a challenge.
- Schedule reading time. If it’s something that really important for you, schedule it in your calendar. One thing I love doing is reading before I fall asleep.That way, I’m not on my phone or I’m not watching TV. I try to squeeze reading whenever I can (I’ve been known to carry my Kindle Fire with me and pull it out at random times lol).
- Join a bookclub. If you join a club, you’re socializing with people with similar goals plus it’s fun! They can offer tips and you can meet new friends. My bookclub is in the Goodreads app and its with other teachers and it’s so much fun! We’re currently reading the book Darling Rose Gold.
- Find a buddy. If bookclubs aren’t your thing, find a buddy and read a book together. It would be interesting. Maybe you’d have different opinions about a book or maybe you both can gush on how you both loved a book. They can also keep you accountable as well. It’s just fun when you have a buddy!
- Carry a book with you! Again, it’s not weird for me to carry my Kindle Fire with me everywhere I go. I even carry a physical book with me from to time. It helps me when I have pockets of extra time to read PLUS it shows my students how dedicated I am to reading. I want to show them that reading is enjoyable. However, try not to take a book with you to a party. I did that once and got strange looks lol.
- Go to the Library. Or thrift stores or garage sales. Books can be pretty pricey but I have seen some good finds at Goodwill. If you have Amazon book prime, for like $3 a month, you can have unlimited books to read on Kindle. Point is, there are ways to access free or reduced priced books.
- Try Audiobooks. Audiobooks count as reading! Maybe you can listen to an audiobook while relaxing around the house, driving, or maybe even while getting your nails done. My point is is that it’s super convenient so why not utilize them?!
- Listen to a podcast. There are many podcasts out there, like LeVar Burton Reads in which he reads short stories. I love listening to his podcast while doing household chores or taking a shower. Again it’s something super convenient.
I hope these tips will help you cultivate a love of reading or give you a nudge to up your reading game!
If you are a bookworm or have a bookworm in your life, you can check out these two sites for some cute book themed shirts and sweaters. They’re both ran bu teachers and have a lot of teacher themed shirts, but they’re both not limited to teacher themed shirts. One site is the Cutesy Class (the site where I got my “Teacher & Cat Mom” shirt) and the other is EastNashTeacher.com.
What are some of your reading tips? What advice would you give to reading newbies?