The Reading Habit

Engage, Inform, Inspire

One of the best ways to encourage a child to read for pleasure is for them to see the adults in their life reading. If a child witnesses the adults in their life reading, they are more likely to formulate a reading habit themselves. But with busy lives, jobs, homes, and family to look after, as well as the everyday occurrences that are part and parcel of daily life, reading for pleasure is not always top of the list for many adults.

However, despite this, many adults would love to read more, but just never get round to it, so how do you cultivate a reading habit?

Find some time

Finding time to read is the most essential element when starting to build a reading habit. Remember, reading doesn’t have to take up hours of your day! Five or ten minutes a day is long enough to cultivate a regular reading habit. But, for many of us, the big question is, where to fit in that five or ten minutes? 

The answer will be different for everyone, but the obvious answer is whenever you have time. For some that might be last thing at night, for others it might be first thing in the morning. Or it could be during the commute to work. Or in the time post dinner and before bedtime, maybe even instead of watching TV. Or at some other point in the day when you realise you regularly have a few free minutes. It might change from day to day, but basically, whenever works for you!

Or, if you feel as though all your time is taken up, maybe look at it in another way – when do you generally mindlessly scroll on your phone? Let’s face it, many of us do that at some point during the day. Is that a time when you could be reading instead? 

Reading for pleasure shouldn’t be a chore

Reading for pleasure is reading that you choose to do and isn’t prescribed by anyone else. It should feel easy from the start. You choose the book or books; you choose when you read, and you choose how much time you spend reading. You can also choose to give up on a book if you find you’re really not enjoying it. So many people feel that if they start a book they must finish it, but you don’t have to! 

Remember, it’s not school or college, you’re not going to be examined on your book of choice. Of course, it’s important to give a book a go, some books might take a few chapters before the reader really settles into the story, but if a book is becoming more hard work than a pleasure, then give yourself permission to stop reading. Life is too short to be spent reading for no pleasure! 

Don’t forget there is more than one way to read! 

Be it a traditional book, an e-reader, an audiobook or even a book on your phone, these days there are so many different ways in which books can be read, so find the one that works best for you. Reading is reading in whatever form it takes. 

Be consistent

As with many things in life, consistency is key when creating a reading habit and sticking to it. If you’re consistent with your reading, it starts to become part of your routine and (hopefully) a part of your day that you really cherish. 

Share your reads with friends

Whether you join (or start) a book club, or simply just discuss and share your latest read with interested friends and family, it’s one way to keep the reading habit going. Discussing books with friends can create an enthusiasm for reading and also makes what is usually often a solo activity, more of a sociable one. Giving and receiving book recommendations to like-minded friends can expand your reading repertoire and make you aware of books you possibly would not have otherwise heard about. 

So, there you have it, a few ideas for those of you who want to start or restart a reading habit. Just a few minutes and a good read is really all you need. And a nice cup of tea or hot beverage of your choice is always a great addition too!


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