Reading books is something that comes naturally to so many of us, but while there’s a whole lot of people who enjoy the thrill of diving into a new novel or non-fiction book, another group of people, and children, just really don’t enjoy the experience, and are so put off from reading that they don’t want to start.  For the month of February there’s a challenge called #Febookary going around which everyone can get involved in (please do, I started it and it’s super easy to do 😀 ).  If you struggle to read books, but still want to get the benefits of reading, is there a way that you can start to enjoy books?  Is there a way to get into reading, even if you don’t like to do it right now?

How to learn to like reading…

Reading can be daunting when you first begin, especially if you see others speen-reading books that are huge or overly complicated.  You might feel like books are ‘not for you’, or that they’re just too boring and take a long time to get through when you could be doing something else.  Don’t worry though, as there are plenty of ways to get yourself reading, and it’s very easy to start, so don’t let some old experiences you had with books put you off, because there’s plenty of things you can do to get yourself (or your kids) interested in reading again:

1. Choose the right book

When choosing a book to read:

Don’t follow the crowd…
It might sound obvious, but the best book you can pick is the simplest and most fun sounding to you.  Sometimes we feel that we should be reading a certain book, or type of book, because other people around us are reading those books too.  But if you are new to reading or struggle to get into books then feeling like you have to read a book just because everyone else is, will just make it more difficult to do.
When I was struggling to enjoy reading when I was a teenager, all my friends me to read Harry Potter (it had started to become super popular!).  But the size of the book alone was enough to put me off.  Ccompared to the much shorter books available at the time, the Harry Potter books were huge, and the idea of reading so much made me freak out.  So pick a book that’s easy to read.  Unless you are really desperate to read what everyone else is, don’t.  Reading is something to be done for fun, so stick a book you know you’ll enjoy.

Don’t think of age…
Children and adults can struggle with books aimed at their own age group, especially if you don’t feel very confident in your reading skills, or just get bored easily when reading.  If this sounds like you (or your children) then go for a book that’s aimed at a younger age group.  Ignore the recommended reader age and choose one that’s aimed at a slightly younger group.  Children’s books are especially good for adults to begin with.  Their stories are fun, usually end in a positive way and many  aimed at younger children also contain a lot of illustrations which is perfect if you struggle to read huge blocks of text.

Think of graphic novels
Graphic novels are filled with lots of pictures and often look more like comic books than novels.  These make the perfect introduction to reading, as the pictures do propel the story forwards but you’re still getting enough words there and pages to call it reading.  Graphic novels are great because they stimulate your mind visually making it easier to ‘see’ what is happening which is great if you struggle to see things visually/in your mind, and you can often get through them a lot faster than a traditional text filled book.

Think of audio books
Did you know that listening can be called ‘reading’?  If you think you don’t have the time to read a book or just can’t read the words well, then why not try audiobooks as a way of getting into reading.  An audiobook is like a reagular reading book but instead of you having to put in the effort of sitting down somewhere to read and getting through the words, the whole book can be narrated to you wherever you are.  You can do other things while listening to an audiobook, especially if you decide to enjoy it through headphones, and if you listen to an auiobook you won’t have to give up other activities to make time for reading.

2. Commit to reading just a page a day

It’s daunting to see a whole book in your hands and even more daunting to think about having to read it all (how long will it take!?).  But when starting out, all you need to do is commit to reading just one page a day.  Or even just one paragraph a day to start.  One page of an average sized book will take you only a minute or maybe two or three to read, depending on your reading speed.  This is about the time it takes for a kettle to boil.  So why not use the time the kettle is boiling in the morning, to read just one page.  If you want to read more then go for it, but commiting to just one page will make the task of reading seem easy to complete.

3. Read before checking social media/emails

We’re so plugged into using our phones these days that for a lot of us, the first thing we do when we get up is to check our social media, emails or notifications.  Even though your phone might be pinging away in the background, try to get in at least that one page or reading before you check your phone.  That way you’ve done you reading for the day, first thing, and then when you tune into your phone you won’t feel like reading is a chore you need to put your phone down to do.

4. Reward yourself for reading

This is an important one that you can use with children.  Reward yourself, or you children, for the reading you/they do.  When you’ve read your set amount of book (whether that’s a page, a chapter or a set time you set aside to read) give yourself a little treat of something as a reward that you promise not to give to yourself until you’ve done the reading.  This can be anything small, like treating yourself to a bubble bath, or anything that you feel is a little treat, but it does really work.  When you’ve finally finished reading a whole book, maybe treat yourself to something bigger, like a shopping trip, museum visit, or a cinema visit, etc. (whatever you feel is a reward for you).
This same idea can work with children.  You can treat them when they’ve done some reading, or (depending on their age as well) give them things like gold stars which they can collect, and when they’ve collected a certain amount they can earn a treat.  Even better, if kids manage to read a whole book, why not treat them to a cinema trip or something special they can do at home.  It doesn’t have to cost anything, but being rewarded in some way will make kids (and adults) minds begin to associate reading with good things.  Over time this can lead to the reading becoming such a happy experience that you (or your kids) will no longer need the reward to continue to enjoy reading, because the idea of raeding a new book will be enough of a reward in itself. 🙂

5. Keep a book with you at all times

Keeping a book with you all the time can help encourage you to read more.  The term ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is very true so by keeping a book in your sight, your mind will be prompted into thinking about reading whenever you take a break from something else you are doing.

6. Read when you have a break, or when travelling

Getting the odd minute or few in of reading is easy if you choose to do it whenever you have a break.  I’ve already mentioned the chance to read when you are waiting for the morning kettle to boil.  But how about reading when you have a morning or lunch break, if you happen to be by yourself.  How about reading when commuting to work (or anywhere else)?  If you don’t feel sick while travelling on transport (unless you are driving of course in which case don’t do it!) then why not use those minutes or hours of travel time reading.  I know it can be tempting to go on social media, watch a video or check up on emails, but why not try silencing your phone and reading instead.  You’ll get to your destination like always but you’ll also have enjoyed some time reading a book!

The more you start to read, the easier it will get.  Like anything in life, doing something new takes time but the more you do something the more easy it will become and you’ll start to build up a momentum and hopefully start to enjoy reading so much that you’ll want to read more and more! 😀  These are just six ideas on how to get yourself into reading more.  There are plenty more ideas out there, many I haven’t even thought of for putting in this post.  So please let me know how you motivate yourself, or your kids to read more, if I get enough new suggestions I might put them all in another post (crediting you guys of course). 

And whatever you do, remember, reading is supposed to be fun!  So if you feel like it isn’t, be easy on yourself and try these ideas to make reading be fun for you 🙂 ❤

How do you motivate yourself to read?  Do you like to read a lot or do you sometimes struggle to get into reading a book?  Do you have any hints or tips on how to get children into reading?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂