Become a Better Bookworm: 15 Ways to Read More

How many books have you read this year? If you can’t count the number on two hands, you’re in the minority. Most people read fewer than 10 books a year, and nearly 25% of Americans hardly read any books at all. But reading is essential for real-life Superheroes. Not reading books means you’re not taking advantage of a vast repository of knowledge available to you, and real-life Superheroes use every tool at their disposal. That’s why we’ve created this 15-step guide to reading more books.

1. Read because you want to.

There are countless reasons why you should read. But none of them matters unless you want to read. Don’t make reading another chore on your to-do list. Read for adventure or knowledge, but above all, read because you enjoy it – not because I tell you to or because you think you should. Reading for any other reason is a surefire way to keep it perpetually at the bottom of your to-do list.

2. Change your mindset.

What do you read today? Do you look for books that interest you, or do you click on links that flash across your computer screen. To read more, you have to change your mindset. It requires some effort, but the payoffs are huge. The biggest change? Start being proactive, not reactive.

3. Schedule time to read.

You should schedule any habit you’re serious about developing and reading is no exception. If you’re struggling for time, just 15 minutes will do. Incorporate it into your morning routine, or read in bed. Try your lunch break or reading to your kids. We encourage reading every day to help the habit stick, but a weekly ritual can help too. How’s Sunday afternoons? If you’re really having trouble scheduling time, go for a daily or weekly page count. 20-40 pages a day is a good start.

4. Carry a book with you.

Quick: how much time do you waste every day? Put down your Candy Crush to pick up your latest tome. You can even use ‘gap time’ at home by leaving your book somewhere you’ll see it often, like the coffee table. Try clearing a shelf in your home and filling it up with books you read for extra visual motivation. Just a few extra minutes each day adds up.

5. Don’t limit yourself to paper.

Yes, you retain more information when you read on paper. But a Pew Research Centre study found that tablet or e-reader owners read 30% more than they did before, and read 24 books a year compared to the average 15. E-books are cheaper and more portable: check out library books from your couch, or use Oyster, AKA Netflix for books. Audio books are another great option, especially if you drive. Try the library, Audible or ScribD.

6. Read one book at a time.

Reading multiple books at once seems useful at first glance. However, this slows down your progress on each book, discouraging you from ever finishing one. It also splits your focus so you’re less likely to retain the information. Read one book at a time. Your brain will thank you.

7. Rethink your priorities.

You claim you’re too busy to read. But how much extra time would you have if you cut out TV and Internet? We’re not suggesting a moratorium on other forms of entertainment, but consider cutting out the ‘background noise,’ i.e. what you do when you have nothing else to do. Keep reading interesting articles; stop Facebook-stalking your old classmates. Break the habit of automatically turning on your TV when you’re free. Pick up a book instead.

8. Stop worrying about money. 

Erasmus once said, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” It’s a romantic notion, but an unrealistic one. Luckily, reading isn’t expensive. The public library can feed your habit for no money at all. Hate returning great books? Take notes or copy the important pages. As said in Tip 4, reading online can also be cheaper than buying paper books. Finally, make a book-buddy: you both buy different books, then swap when you finish for double the fun at half the cost. Just pick a friend with whom you have similar taste and reading speeds.

9. Make it social.

Speaking of book buddies, reading doesn’t have to be a lonely activity. Start a book club, or find one that already exists at work or on Meetup. Read to your children to introduce them to the joy of reading. Want to stay online? Goodreads is a great social network for readers.

10. Create a haven.

Are you trying to read in the kitchen while your kids climb the walls? No wonder you can’t concentrate. Create a safe haven for reading: your bed, the dining room table at 6AM or the local coffee shop. Unless you’re the rare bird who can read anywhere, someplace quiet where you won’t be bothered is ideal and will dramatically up your daily page count.

11. Make a list. 

Some people run through a whole trilogy in a few days…then don’t read for months because they don’t know what to read. Avoid this problem by keeping a list of books you want to read. Exhausted all your friends’ recommendations? Befriend your local librarian or the employees at your book store. Read reviews. Check out our list, or go on WhatShouldIReadNext. A list keeps you motivated to read the next book, and prevents you from forgetting about books that intrigue you. Just don’t feel obligated to read books that sound boring, even if it’s on a “must-read” list.

12. Give up. 

Not on your big goals. But we all have that book we constantly re-start yet never finish. If you’d don’t love a book after about 50 pages, let it go. You won’t like every book you pick up, and that’s OK – even if that book is a bestseller. Fill your reading list with books you love, and never again have to switch between the book you want to read and the book you ‘ought’ to read. That said, always give a book a second chance a few months or years later. Sometimes, you just picked up a book at the wrong time in your life

13. Stop when you don’t want to.

In the middle of a harrowing scene? Put the book down. Stopping when you don’t want ensures that you’ll return to the book because you have to know what happens. As a bonus, you might also avoid groggy mornings at work because you couldn’t put your thriller down.

14. Make a huge goal.

Granted, this tip is not for everybody. But if you’re serious about reading a LOT more, consider getting a giant goal for yourself. How about 1 book a week? It could be just the push you need to jump start your reading habit. Setting a big goal also forces you to make lots of smaller ones, piling on the motivation needed to read a little every day. Just make sure you can handle the emotional pressure, and cut yourself some slack sometimes. Really short books still count.

15. Consider speed-reading.  

An easy way to read more is to read faster. Don’t want to take a speed-reading classOpenSpritz flashes any online text in front of you to improve your reading rate. There are also some basic, free tips you can use. Try running your finger below the text as you read to focus your eyes. You can also learn how fast you read and thus how long a book will take you with Jim here.

Want more tips? Check out How to Finish One Book A Week, then let us know what you thought by commenting below, on Facebook, or Tweeting us @SuperheroYou!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: photosteve101 via Compfight cc

How many books have you read this year? If you can’t count the number on two hands, you’re in the minority. Most people read fewer than 10 books a year, and nearly 25% of Americans hardly read any books at all. But reading is essential for real-life Superheroes. Not reading books means you’re not taking advantage of a vast repository of knowledge available to you, and real-life Superheroes use every tool at their disposal. That’s why we’ve created this 15-step guide to reading more books.

1. Read because you want to.

There are countless reasons why you should read. But none of them matters unless you want to read. Don’t make reading another chore on your to-do list. Read for adventure or knowledge, but above all, read because you enjoy it – not because I tell you to or because you think you should. Reading for any other reason is a surefire way to keep it perpetually at the bottom of your to-do list.

2. Change your mindset.

What do you read today? Do you look for books that interest you, or do you click on links that flash across your computer screen. To read more, you have to change your mindset. It requires some effort, but the payoffs are huge. The biggest change? Start being proactive, not reactive.

3. Schedule time to read.

You should schedule any habit you’re serious about developing and reading is no exception. If you’re struggling for time, just 15 minutes will do. Incorporate it into your morning routine, or read in bed. Try your lunch break or reading to your kids. We encourage reading every day to help the habit stick, but a weekly ritual can help too. How’s Sunday afternoons? If you’re really having trouble scheduling time, go for a daily or weekly page count. 20-40 pages a day is a good start.

4. Carry a book with you.

Quick: how much time do you waste every day? Put down your Candy Crush to pick up your latest tome. You can even use ‘gap time’ at home by leaving your book somewhere you’ll see it often, like the coffee table. Try clearing a shelf in your home and filling it up with books you read for extra visual motivation. Just a few extra minutes each day adds up.

5. Don’t limit yourself to paper.

Yes, you retain more information when you read on paper. But a Pew Research Centre study found that tablet or e-reader owners read 30% more than they did before, and read 24 books a year compared to the average 15. E-books are cheaper and more portable: check out library books from your couch, or use Oyster, AKA Netflix for books. Audio books are another great option, especially if you drive. Try the library, Audible or ScribD.

6. Read one book at a time.

Reading multiple books at once seems useful at first glance. However, this slows down your progress on each book, discouraging you from ever finishing one. It also splits your focus so you’re less likely to retain the information. Read one book at a time. Your brain will thank you.

7. Rethink your priorities.

You claim you’re too busy to read. But how much extra time would you have if you cut out TV and Internet? We’re not suggesting a moratorium on other forms of entertainment, but consider cutting out the ‘background noise,’ i.e. what you do when you have nothing else to do. Keep reading interesting articles; stop Facebook-stalking your old classmates. Break the habit of automatically turning on your TV when you’re free. Pick up a book instead.

8. Stop worrying about money. 

Erasmus once said, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” It’s a romantic notion, but an unrealistic one. Luckily, reading isn’t expensive. The public library can feed your habit for no money at all. Hate returning great books? Take notes or copy the important pages. As said in Tip 4, reading online can also be cheaper than buying paper books. Finally, make a book-buddy: you both buy different books, then swap when you finish for double the fun at half the cost. Just pick a friend with whom you have similar taste and reading speeds.

9. Make it social.

Speaking of book buddies, reading doesn’t have to be a lonely activity. Start a book club, or find one that already exists at work or on Meetup. Read to your children to introduce them to the joy of reading. Want to stay online? Goodreads is a great social network for readers.

10. Create a haven.

Are you trying to read in the kitchen while your kids climb the walls? No wonder you can’t concentrate. Create a safe haven for reading: your bed, the dining room table at 6AM or the local coffee shop. Unless you’re the rare bird who can read anywhere, someplace quiet where you won’t be bothered is ideal and will dramatically up your daily page count.

11. Make a list. 

Some people run through a whole trilogy in a few days…then don’t read for months because they don’t know what to read. Avoid this problem by keeping a list of books you want to read. Exhausted all your friends’ recommendations? Befriend your local librarian or the employees at your book store. Read reviews. Check out our list, or go on WhatShouldIReadNext. A list keeps you motivated to read the next book, and prevents you from forgetting about books that intrigue you. Just don’t feel obligated to read books that sound boring, even if it’s on a “must-read” list.

12. Give up. 

Not on your big goals. But we all have that book we constantly re-start yet never finish. If you’d don’t love a book after about 50 pages, let it go. You won’t like every book you pick up, and that’s OK – even if that book is a bestseller. Fill your reading list with books you love, and never again have to switch between the book you want to read and the book you ‘ought’ to read. That said, always give a book a second chance a few months or years later. Sometimes, you just picked up a book at the wrong time in your life

13. Stop when you don’t want to.

In the middle of a harrowing scene? Put the book down. Stopping when you don’t want ensures that you’ll return to the book because you have to know what happens. As a bonus, you might also avoid groggy mornings at work because you couldn’t put your thriller down.

14. Make a huge goal.

Granted, this tip is not for everybody. But if you’re serious about reading a LOT more, consider getting a giant goal for yourself. How about 1 book a week? It could be just the push you need to jump start your reading habit. Setting a big goal also forces you to make lots of smaller ones, piling on the motivation needed to read a little every day. Just make sure you can handle the emotional pressure, and cut yourself some slack sometimes. Really short books still count.

15. Consider speed-reading.  

An easy way to read more is to read faster. Don’t want to take a speed-reading classOpenSpritz flashes any online text in front of you to improve your reading rate. There are also some basic, free tips you can use. Try running your finger below the text as you read to focus your eyes. You can also learn how fast you read and thus how long a book will take you with Jim here.

Want more tips? Check out How to Finish One Book A Week, then let us know what you thought by commenting below, on Facebook, or Tweeting us @SuperheroYou!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: photosteve101 via Compfight cc

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