HOW TO BECOME A BETTER READER
By Preston Simmons | Published: 10 May 2021
Remember back in English class when your teacher made you read those classic literature books you dreaded? You read them (or you didn’t, who could blame you?), but you always found yourself losing concentration, wishing you were doing anything other than reading the book or even falling asleep in the middle of a page? Maybe you even put down the book and never picked up reading again. This happens to a lot of people more than you would think. If you remember any of those things happening to you, it’s possible you could think of yourself as a bad reader or think reading is just a waste of time. You may even think that reading is just not for you, so what’s the point?
If you think any of those things, I’m here to tell you it’s not your fault. You aren’t a bad reader; in fact, you’re probably a much better reader than you give yourself credit for. If you actually read the above paragraph without skipping any lines, you’re better than most readers already. So, congrats, you can call yourself a good reader.
You may be wondering, though, how do you become a better reader? Is it even possible? I’m here to tell you it is entirely possible to become a better reader than you already are. It really only takes 5 simple steps to become a better reader and make reading more enjoyable altogether. For some, this list may be obvious, but for others, this list may be useful. Whichever stance you take, these tips are sure to be beneficial to you and help you become a better reader.
#1 – Read for at least 30 minutes a day
18 days is all it takes to create a habit. There are 24 hours in a day; take 30 minutes out of your day to read. This could be anything from an article, a book, a magazine, a Twitter feed, or even a Reddit post. Just take 30 minutes out of your day, every day, to do it. The more consistently you do it, the quicker it will be to form the reading habit. The more you read, the more it will become a part of your life. Once it becomes a habit, it will feel weird to you not to read.
Personally, what I found to be the most beneficial to me would be reading books. Set a timer for 30 minutes and start reading a chapter of a book of your choice. Once the 30 minutes are up, check and see where you are at if you want to continue reading; great! Keep going and finish that chapter. If not, no problem. Put the book down and start again tomorrow from where you left off for another 30 minutes. Keep on doing this, and before you know it, you’ll have finished the book. From there, move onto the next book of your choice and start again. Look at you; you’re already a better reader from before.
#2 – Pick books that you ACTUALLY want to read
Pick books that you actually want to read, not books that you don’t want to. Nothing is worse than having to read a book that puts you to sleep because you have zero interest in it. Don’t read an autobiography on the man who invented the windshield wiper just because your best friend with an unnatural obsession with windshields told you it was a good book(or do, if you love windshields. More power to you!). If you have no interest in that subject, reading that book won’t make you a better reader. Instead, all it will do is make you associate reading with boredom.
The key is reading as much as possible. To do that, read what you love or have an interest in. Want to read about romance? Pick up that Jane Austen book you’ve been eying. Want to read about super-strong characters whose sole goal is to get stronger? Try reading some progression fantasy books! The point is, you want to make reading fun for you. Not a chore. The more you read, the more comfortable with reading you will become. The more comfortable with reading you become, naturally the better reader you will be.
#3 – Don’t be afraid to put down books you don’t enjoy
So you pick up a book that you think you’re going to love. It’s got a ton of great reviews on Goodreads, and multiple people on Reddit highly recommend it. The only problem? No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get into it. Should you tough it out and keep on reading until the end just to say that you did? No, you shouldn’t.
As of writing this post on May 10, 2021, there have been over 962,162 books published this year alone. Almost a million books were published, and the year is not even halfway done. That means there are virtually a countless number of good books that you could be reading that you definitely will like, rather than sticking to a book you don’t enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to put down a book that you only made it partially through. It’s okay to add a book to your “did not finish” list. Putting a book down for good if you don’t like it doesn’t make you a bad reader. If anything, it makes you a better reader. You know what you like, and you know what you don’t. The more you become attuned to your own interests, the better you’ll become at finding books that you know you will love. Once you do that, you’re well on your way to becoming a better reader.
# 4 – Listen to audiobooks
Audiobooks are a great way to make reading easier and more fun. Some may say that listening to audiobooks doesn’t count as reading. They’re wrong. Listening to audiobooks is just as viable a reading method as physically reading a book. In fact, it’s been proven that listening to audiobooks is just as beneficial as physically reading a book.
With that said, audiobooks are a great tool to use to become a better reader yourself. One of the best aspects of audiobooks is that professional voice actors read them. These narrators are the best of the best readers out there. They especially know how to bring to life the different characters in the book. Another amazing benefit of audiobooks is that you can listen to them any time, anywhere. If you are driving, exercising, or doing any activity that requires your hands, as long as you have headphones or a speaker, you can continue reading when you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. The more you read, the better reader you become, and listening to audiobooks is another form of reading.
#5 – Practice using your mind’s eye
Think back to this morning. What did you do? Did you get out of bed? Did you check your phone? If you could visually see yourself doing any of those things, you have used your mind’s eye. How can using your mind’s eye help you become a better reader?
When many people read, they describe it as similar to watching a movie in their mind. They can visually see the events that are unfolding on the pages in their book. Using their mind’s eye, they are blending words on the page into images in their mind. Doing this makes reading a more enjoyable experience, but it also helps make you into a better reader. However, using your mind’s eye while reading is not an easy task to accomplish. For some, it comes naturally. For others, it’s much more difficult.
How can you master your mind’s eye?
One easy way is to practice meditation. Meditation is a great way to focus on your inner self, which in turn forces you to use your mind’s eye. Another easy way is to daydream. Daydream about your past, your future, your family, or anything you like. The more you daydream, the more you will naturally use your mind’s eye. The mind’s eye is just like any other muscle. The more you activate it, the more you get used to using it. Before you know it, using your mind’s eye while reading will come naturally to you. The words on the page will become more like movies in your mind. Once this happens, you can say you have become a better reader.
Becoming a better reader is a great goal for everyone to have. Reading is a hobby that is beneficial to your mind and is also healthy for your soul. The more you read, naturally the better reader you will become.
Do you have any tips on how to become a better reader? Do you have any thoughts on the list above?
Comment below and tell me your thoughts!