Reading is said to be a lost skill. In 2019, one survey found that 27% of adults in the U.S. have not read a book, whether in print or electronic form. Many people are less likely to commit their time to read and finish a book when they’re trapped in social media platforms’ endless scrolling.
But reading is a very important skill to have, especially given its benefits.
Advantages of Reading
Reading keeps your brain stimulated. Although there’s no conclusive proof yet, studies suggest that reading is one of the activities that help in preventing or slowing down the development of mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Reading can also help you build your vocabulary. The wider it is, the better you can communicate with others, whether through text or speech. Expanding your vocabulary can also help you in school and at work. For example, when you write articles, you can use a variety of words to keep your works more engaging to read and easy to comprehend.
Another benefit of reading is the ability to “escape” reality. It’s a good way to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Reading can also help you understand other people more. You can learn about other people through immersion. You can travel to other countries or dive into a gap-year experience. But you can also learn a lot just by reading. For instance, characters in fictional books will give you an idea of how and why other people think and act. The characterization in books will also help you better understand who you are and what type of person you want to be.
How to Start Reading Again
Getting started on reading may seem as simple as picking up a book. But if you haven’t read in a long time, you might find it difficult to focus. Here are some strategies you can try to start reading again:
Read What You Like
In school, students were forced to read books from start to finish even if they don’t like these books. If you’ve experienced the same, one reason you might not be into reading is that you were required to do it.
This time, you can read books because you want to. Pick titles that you like. You can try reading a romance novel if that’s what you like. You can also try thrillers that keep you excited as you read. Or if you’re into self-improvement, you can read nonfiction self-help books.
Don’t force yourself to read for hours at a time. Doing so may make you like reading less. It will feel like a chore. Start light instead. Consider only reading for 20 to 30 minutes a day. Once you get used to including reading in your daily routine, then you can try reading for longer.
It’s Okay Not to Finish Books
If you lose interest in the middle or find it boring, stop reading that book and find something else. Forcing yourself to read may only make you dislike it. Also, remember that it’s okay to skip parts of the book or just skim through pages. If one chapter starts to get boring, check the book’s table of contents and jump to the chapter that you think you’ll be more interested in.
Try an E-reader
Buying many physical books can become expensive. And sometimes, holding a book while you read can be inconvenient, especially if it’s big or thick. In this case, you might consider getting an e-reader. It’s compact and light. So you can take it anywhere. It also mimics the experience of reading a physical book. Also, there is a wide variety of e-books you can purchase online. You no longer have to go out and search for the books you want in physical stores. You can do so with a few clicks right in your e-reader.
Join Reading Communities
It’s nice to be surrounded by people who have the same interest as you. Finding a reading community will help you stay motivated. You can also share reading lists, which is a great way to expand your personal library. Also, if someone else has read the same books you did, you can have interesting conversations with them and talk about your opinions about the book.
Amid the pandemic where physical interactions are limited, being part of an online community can give you a sense of companionship and belongingness. This can be good for your mental health.
Reading has many benefits. Developing this habit may be difficult at first, as with many habits. But once you get used to it, you’ll likely enjoy it.