Less than 20% of Americans adults read for pleasure on any given day in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a new low, and the numbers have been dropping since the 1980s.
If you’re like the average adult, you spend 10 hours watching TV for every one hour you spend reading. Even when you pick up a book, it may be something practical you need for work or to figure out how to fix your refrigerator.
Meanwhile, you’re missing out on the joys of reading for pleasure. In addition to providing entertainment, books can teach you about dealing with issues in your own life and developing more compassion.
Start now to read more for pleasure. Find out how to make time for reading and enjoy each book more.
Carving Out Time
Maybe you’d like to read, but you need practical ways to fit it into your daily schedule. Changing how you use your leisure hours can create more opportunities.
Try these ideas to fit more reading time into your schedule:
- Start small. Set goals you can reach. You might aim for at least 10 minutes or 20 pages a day until you get used to reading for longer stretches.
- Give up. Quitting can be a smart decision. Instead of pressuring yourself to finish an unappealing book, move on to something that interests you more.
- Build a library. Prevent long delays while you search for something to read. Collect books that you think you will enjoy. If you appreciate minimalism, you can make a reading list instead.
- Carry supplies. In addition to a home library, you’ll need to have reading material with you when you’re away. Stock up on paperbacks and magazines or use technology to access almost any title online.
- Plan your time. Be prepared for situations that will give you time to read. That could include waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles or overnight business trips.
Enhancing Your Reading Skills
You’re more likely to read if you make reading more satisfying. Strengthening your reading skills, meditation, and other mindfulness practices will sharpen your concentration.
Try these techniques to enhance your reading skills:
- Make it relatable. Look for personal connections in what you’re reading. You’ll find that books become more meaningful and memorable when you see your own experiences reflected.
- Take notes. It may help to jot down your thoughts as you go along. Pick out passages that make a deep impression on you. Write down questions you have about the text.
- Build your vocabulary. Looking up unfamiliar words can be distracting. However, if you keep reading and learn a new word each day, you probably won’t need to consult a dictionary very often.
- Resist multitasking. Give your full attention to what you’re reading. Otherwise, you’re likely to forget what happened.
- Slow down. Important works often require more effort to read than the average mystery or romance novel. If you’re used to scanning, you may need to adjust your pace and reread key sections.
- Check reviews. You can benefit from the experience of others too. Read comments and reviews from other readers and literary critics to see the same work from different perspectives.
- Talk it over. To go even deeper, discuss what you read. Join a book club or participate in online forums. Exchange books you like with friends and families, so you’ll have something interesting to chat about.
- Practice regularly. The most effective way to become a more accomplished reader is to keep reading. Look up lists of recommended books and ask librarians for suggestions. Cut back on TV time or social media, so you have more time to read.
Enrich your life by reading for pleasure. You’ll broaden your experiences and enjoy greater health and happiness.